“It’s tough out there” is probably the understatement of the year and by the time you read this yet more car dealerships will have gone under. It is predicted that in the not too distant future there will be far fewer dealers anyway as manufacturers continue to impose stricter standards in order to strengthen their control over their precious brand identities.
As we have predicted previously, inevitably there will be less dealers which in turn will be owned and run by larger companies who will have more than one marque under their umbrella than many manufacturers would have previously allowed. The dynamics of the businesses are changing rapidly and as we also recently reported dealers are exploring other ways of bringing in revenue.
At one dealer I visited this week the Dealer Principal admitted that although his income from sales, especially new cars was significantly below plan he had his best ever month in profit terms from his workshop and parts departments.
This all alludes to our previous claim that, without stating the obvious, there are still usually some trends that emerge during economic downturns. Firstly there is the 2 car family trading in both cars for 1 new one thus cutting expenses considerably and not having to add significantly to their changeover figure. Secondly some consumers will ‘trade-down’ and this is especially apparent in the larger more uneconomic examples we are seeing being offered for part-exchange in favour of the smaller more economic versions around the £5,000 mark.
Additionally customers will u-turn on the wish to purchase a new car by opting to spend more money on maintaining their present car and maybe having repair work completed, the cost of which would normally encourage them to trade-in, hence the massive increase in profits for my dealer friend.
As I’ve said these are all fairly obvious occurrences during an economic downturn in car sales but shopping around for servicing deals and parts such as tyres, which can vary dramatically in price, becomes vital.
Don’t accept the first quote, ask yourself whether you’re sure value for money is being offered, and don’t be afraid to ask for a breakdown of any work being carried out. And if you are intending to retain a vehicle you otherwise might have moved on from, maybe a winter clean and check up won’t go a miss. Watch out though for the “special” winter check up offers which on the face of it may look cheap but are usually designed to find more problems to fix which obviously need more money!.
Finally although interest rates are lower at present a good high street personal loan rate that isn’t, very often extortionate, is hard to find. Car manufacturers, however are offering some very competitive subsidised interest rates which are worth a look at and with heavily discounted cars at present and many optional extras now standard, it is well worth considering a car purchase.
Once you have established a monthly payment you may be amazed at how low some of these can be, you may even be able to afford a car you only once dreamed about!
Remember if you don’t buy a ticket you can’t win the prize!