The first number plate change of 2020 is due soon, which means the time of 69-plates is nearly over. The run-up to and immediately after a plate-change is generally considered the best time to buy a new car.
In fact, this is our first tip for saving money on a new car. Do so tactically around the plate-changes on 1 March and 1 September. Work with dealers to get the best deal, as they try to shift outgoing stock – or bolster their numbers on the new plates.
Here are some more ideas for getting the best deal on a new car.
Buy the outgoing model
Generally speaking, cars are replaced every six years or so. A great example is the new Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, which has arrived around seven years after the Mk7 debuted. The thing is, the Mk7 remains an exceptional car, even after seven years on sale. We wouldn’t blame anyone for buying one, and as its days are numbered, some great deals can be had. Dealers will want to shift remaining Mk7 stock in preparation for the new car.
The same is the case for any car that’s facing imminent replacement. If an older model’s age isn’t the driver of a bargain, you can definitely bring it up with your dealer to negotiate a better price.
Sell your car privately
Part-exchange is, if we’re being honest, rarely the best way to get the most money out of your existing car. Dealers taking in part-exchanges will often push them to auction, so will make you a low offer to mitigate risk.
Selling the car yourself will likely earn you between 10 and 20 percent more than if you trade-in. As well as Auto Trader, Pistonheads and the like, platforms like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace can facilitate selling your car. You might want to check out our guide on writing the perfect car advert, too.
In the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to shop around. We do it with everything, from groceries to electrical appliances – so why not cars? Brokers such as DrivetheDeal can find you enormous savings on new cars, while Carwow lets dealers ‘bid’ for your custom.
You might not feel comfortable buying a car online, but websites like these should give you an idea of the savings available. If it’s a new car and marginal savings are available online, the salesman at your local dealer won’t have a lot to play with either. Conversely, if larger discounts are available, ask your dealer to match them. They’ll probably be able to get very close.
Choose the right powertrain
Diesel, petrol, hybrid or electric? It’s the question on every car buyer’s lips right now. We’re definitely in the opening years of a massive step-change, as electric cars become more popular. The question is whether now is the right time for you to make the jump. EVs can be a solid purchase, given the savings on fuel that can be made. You can also save a great deal at the point of sale, with scrappage schemes and of course, the Plug-in Car Grant of £3,500 from the government.
MG offered to match the PiCG for a select number of early adopters for the ZS EV, saving them £7,000 on the initial purchase price. If that sounds too good to be true, similar schemes, some involving scrappage, are more common than you’d think. Given the 95g/km European fleet average sales target for manufacturers, it’s very much in their interest to shift as many zero- and low-emission vehicles as possible.
Given the difficulty some dealers are having selling diesel cars, you could grab a bargain there. And conversely, a petrol car can be cheaper to tax, cheaper to maintain – and often nearly as efficient.
Yes, it might sound odd, but it pays to be friendly towards the salesperson. They want to build a rapport with you – and if you’re pleasant and honest with them, they’ll try their to best to get you a good deal. If you go in pretending to be a hardened negotiator, they’ll be less likely to play ball.
Be open about any deals you’ve seen elsewhere and give yourself plenty of time to negotiate. It’ll be more pleasant for all concerned if you visit during a quiet period with a couple of hours set aside – rather than trying to order a new car 10 minutes before closing time.