Top tips for buying a new car in 2018

With the new 68-plate cars hitting the market on September 1st, it’s a peak time to buy a new car, especially if you use your vehicle for business purposes in an industry where image and apparent prosperity matter to your customers or colleagues.

But behind the scenes, of course you want to know you’re getting good value from your shiny new purchase, and not just paying through the nose for the sake of that 68 number plate.

Here are five top tips when buying a new car, to make sure you don’t get won over by a commission-hungry salesperson’s salivating sales pitch, but do end up paying a fair price for what you buy.

1. Know what you want

If you’re buying a brand new car, you probably know what you want, so make sure you do your research before walking into a dealership.

Sounding confident will give you the upper hand when it comes to negotiating over the price – and if the salesperson won’t shift on the asking price, try to negotiate a better spec or some freebies instead.

Most importantly, make sure you buy the car you want, not the car they want to sell you, and check the spec on any paperwork before you sign to confirm the purchase.

2. Don’t get distracted

Don’t let the salesperson distract you with the offer of something shiny like a personalised plate or custom paint job.

Personalised plates can be bought separately from DVLA and most of them are priced at around £400, so it’s not worth paying an extra £1,000 or more to get one bundled with your new car unless it’s super rare.

Likewise, it’s easy to get a car’s appearance changed using vinyl vehicle wraps, without having to repaint the bodywork – and as we’ll see below, there are other reasons why a vinyl car wrap helps to protect your investment in a new car.

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3. Consider resale value

If you don’t yet know what make and model of car, or which particular specification you want, think about the future resale value, particularly if you’re likely to want to trade up again in six or 12 months’ time when the next number plates are launched.

One factor that is often overlooked here is whether the model is a whole new generation, or just a slightly updated version of an existing generation.

Some of the longest-lived models of car get a generational redesign every four or five years, so look back through the history of your preferred model and see if it’s due for a substantial update – buying at full price at the tail-end of an older generation can be a surefire way to lose out on resale value.

4. Protect your paintwork

Car wraps aren’t just a way to brighten up tired old paintwork – they can also protect paintwork on a new car as a good way to preserve its value for the future.

Particularly if you buy a new car in a rare colour or a model whose resale value is higher when the original paint job is intact, consider a vehicle wrap to put a coat of armour around that coat of paint.

Vehicle vinyl wraps help to reduce the risk of paint being chipped by grit kicked up off the road surface, are easy to maintain with just a rinse and wipe down, and can protect against fading due to sunlight too.

5. Don’t trust the salesperson

It’s sad to say but you can’t always trust the salesperson to advise you on the best value for your money, as opposed to the option that makes them the most commission – after all, they’re only doing their job.

What you can do though is to watch out for slick sales patter or for the salesperson trying to build rapport with you through shared experiences or wistfully reminiscing about supposedly driving the same favourite make and model of car as you.

Don’t fall for it – keep the conversation to business or turn it to your advantage by piling on the emotional pressure if you think you have established some genuine rapport, and you might even score a discount if you catch your sales buddy on an off day.

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