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10 Tips for Car Buyers

Picking up your new car can be a thrilling moment, but the process involved to get to that stage can actually be quite daunting. No one wants to be taken advantage of during the car buying process. Dealing with an official franchise dealership with professional consultants that can walk you through the process is a huge help, but to give you a head-start we’ve put together this list of ten items to think about when buying a new or used car.

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1. The Search for the Right Car

Three key places to search for your new (or used) car, include the manufacturer’s website (e.g. the Volkswagen or ŠKODA websites), dealership websites such as our own, or vehicle listing websites like Trade Me, Driven and Autotrader.

However, before you start your search, it can help to gain a better picture of what you can afford – either weekly, monthly or in total – as well as how much you have as a deposit. Be aware that if you’re trading in a vehicle, you could put this towards a deposit on a new car, either in part or in full depending on the value of your existing vehicle.

Tip: keep an eye out for ‘demonstrator’ vehicles. These are vehicles that have been registered from new and typically used only for test drive purposes. They’ll have between 2,000km to 5,000km on the odometer, will include the balance of their new vehicle benefits (such as a factory warranty) but will cost less than a brand new car. It’s possible you won’t benefit from any actual ‘new vehicle’ promotions, so weigh up your options with your salesperson.

Car Buying

2. Your Salesperson, Your Terms

A professional dealership employs and develops the very best salespeople. While our team have received high-praise from past customers, we understand that everyone is different. Similar to visiting a hairdresser, we won’t be offended if you prefer to speak to a particular Sales Consultant; perhaps someone you’ve dealt with before or has been recommended by an associate; whatever the reason, if you’d like to speak to someone in particular just let us know and we’ll introduce you!

Tip: don’t hold back; spend some time with your salesperson and tell them about everything you want from a vehicle. They’ll help you to understand which vehicle will suit the majority, if not all, of your needs along with your budget. 

3. The Test-Drive Experience

As part of your research, a good test-drive is the first ‘real’ introduction to the new vehicle that you may ultimately end up buying. Test-drives should always be obligation-free, professional, informative, and give you a satisfying understanding of the vehicle’s features and characteristics (we’ve been highlighting a few modern vehicle features through regular blog posts, take some time to have a look through as features are being developed all the time!).

We’ve put together an article on the test-drive process which is worth a read, and be aware that a test-drive doesn’t have to start at our showroom. Our team are available to bring a vehicle to you at your home or workplace so you can get a feel for the car in your own environment… and even get the opinion of  your family or co-workers!

Tip: Our team know the vehicle and the best route to really demonstrate its features, but you can personalise this experience by writing a list of the features that you’d like to learn more about and giving this to your salesperson at the time of the test drive. They’ll then adjust the demonstration to ensure all of your questions are answered.

Test Driving a Car

4. An Appraisal of Your Trade-in

If you’re looking for a car to replace your existing vehicle, part of that process will be disposing of your own car. Selling privately could be the way to go, but another option can make the process a lot smoother for you. Depending on the quality of your existing car, you may be able to trade-in your vehicle as part payment towards your new one. One advantage of this is that this removes any private-sale risk from the equation and also means there is no point during the transition where you don’t have a car (or have two cars at the same time). Finally, if you don’t have cash for a deposit, you could use the value of your trade-in as part payment – or the full amount – of a deposit towards your new car.

Tip: A good dealership will give you a fair appraisal on your trade-in or an honest opinion as to whether you’re best to sell your vehicle privately… or even put you in touch with a wholesaler. An appraisal could take place while you’re test driving your potential new car.

Vehicle Trade-in Appraisals

5. Arranging Vehicle Finance

Whether you need to finance part or all of your new vehicle purchase, there are a wide range of vehicle finance providers to choose from. A good finance consultant will work with you to understand your own unique situation and payment requirements and find a solution that you can comfortably afford and feel confident with.

Rather than work with one provider that had the best advertising, it’s a good idea to speak to a consultant who has highly reputable finance options that are purpose-designed for vehicle purchasing. That way they can find the best possible finance plan and options to suit both your needs and the specific vehicle that you’re buying.

For example, Miles Continental has access to both Volkswagen and ŠKODA Finance solutions and is committed to creating a solution to suit you, rather than trying to fit you into a solution. We’ll even provide finance for a vehicle that you’re buying from elsewhere; come to us before you seal the deal to check out your options.

Tip: Use our finance calculator to play around with some figures. This should give you a rough idea as to what you can afford and how much your repayments might be, then arrange a catch-up with our team to confirm the details.

6. Insurance, For Your Protection and Others

Comprehensive car insurance is crucial to protect you and others in the event of an accident. Typically, insurance is also a requirement for any vehicle purchased under finance.

Finding good insurance can be more difficult than many providers make out, particularly if you care about maintaining your vehicle’s quality and value. For example, cheap insurance options can look appealing but the fine print may see you receiving less than you expected in the event that your vehicle is written-off, or even see your quality European vehicle fitted with cheaper aftermarket parts.

We have insurance policies specifically suited to the vehicles that we sell and you may be surprised at the premiums we can secure for you. These can be included within your regular payments to help with managing your finances.

Tip: Terms to look out for include ‘new for old’ cover which can mean you’ll get a brand new replacement car if yours is less than two years old and written off, ‘genuine replacement parts’ which ensure any replacement vehicle parts will be the genuine parts created by the manufacturer for your particular car instead of universal aftermarket parts which may not perform as well, and ‘agreed value’ where your vehicle is insured for a set amount, rather than a ‘market value’ where the value can change depending on the market at the time of your accident.

7. Warranties for No Surprises

While new cars will typically come with a warranty – with demonstrators including the balance of their new car warranty from the date it was first registered – warranties can also be arranged for many used vehicles. A warranty may cover the costs of parts and labour for any unexpected parts failure. If your vehicle comes with its own warranty as standard, it may be worth considering an extended warranty to add extra years or kilometres. Depending on the circumstances, a warranty may be transferred to a new owner should you decide to sell the vehicle, making the vehicle much more appealing to potential buyers.

Tip: if installing aftermarket accessories on a new vehicle, be conscious of whether this affects your vehicle’s warranty. It can help to choose genuine accessories; check with our team for details.

8. Service Plans with Easy Payments

If you’re looking to buy a new car, you’ll want to maintain that vehicle’s quality, value, and safety as much as possible during the lifetime of your ownership through regular servicing. As well as improving its efficiency, reducing the risk of parts failure, and keeping you and others safe on the road, a great service history can help to maintain the resale value of your car when the time comes to sell it and upgrade.

Depending on the vehicle you’re buying, you may be able to purchase a Service Plan. This is an option that includes a number of scheduled services, all paid in advance at the time of purchase. By absorbing these into your regular finance payments, you may find your servicing costs more affordable than having to pay for each service as it occurs. Meanwhile, programs like Volkswagen’s Service Advantage give you full transparency as to your vehicle’s service costs.

Tip: a Service Plan also helps to ‘lock in’ the price of your service during the term of the plan. If the market price rises, you’ll have paid the original service price. If you’ve invested in a new car or a good quality used car, regular servicing to maintain that vehicle’s performance and value is a no-brainer.

9. Vehicle Protection for Easy Care, Extended Lifespan and Higher Resale Value

There are a number of vehicle protection products that can be professionally applied to make your vehicle’s exterior and interior easier to clean, maintain a ‘new’ look for longer, extend the lifespan of your vehicle’s materials and improve the resale value of your car when the time comes to sell.

Two of the best products on the market for car care and protection are Dura-Seal and 3M. Application can be arranged by our team, included within the purchase price of your vehicle, and applied while we prepare your vehicle for you to collect.

Tip: Brochures can only explain so much. Visit the showroom and ask for a demonstration of Dura-Seal products in action. We’re confident you’ll be convinced of their value. 

Car Care & Protection

10. The Final Touch: European License Plates

Many vehicles – not just European vehicle brands – are designed for European markets; even a number of vehicles that are manufactured in Japan. These vehicles can have front and rear bumpers that are designed for wide and slim license plates. By default, license plates in New Zealand are narrower and taller. They’ll still fit any vehicle just fine, but can look out of place.

One option to truly finish-off your vehicle’s look is to arrange a European license plate. These fit the vehicle perfectly rather than looking like they were intended for another car. The extra white space on each side can legally be filled with other imagery. Common options include a New Zealand flag or fern on one side, and a vehicle logo on the other.

Tip: Keep an eye out for other vehicles on the road that have European license plates. Once you’ve seen a few and how well they work, you’ll grow quite attached to the idea! Speak to a Business Manager about including the cost within your total finance amount and the increase in your monthly rates could be very small. 

European License Plates

When you’re ready to talk, contact us for an obligation-free chat in the comfort of our customer lounge.

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