Loans - New cars for old

by : Michael Challiner

Thinking of buying a new car? Unless you’re paying cash, presumably you’re looking for the best way to finance the car of your choice.

For people who choose to buy a new car every two or three years, personal contract purchase, or PCP, is gaining in popularity. Your car dealer or the manufacturer effectively lends you the balance of the car, after you’ve paid a deposit of 20 to 25 per cent. A fixed trade in price is promised at the end of the deal. An annual mileage limit will be agreed and as long as this isn’t exceeded you will be offered a choice of options when the contract ends.

The choices will be

  1. To return the car and change to a new one.
  2. To trade it in at its second hand value – this may be more than the guaranteed figure, which makes it well worth doing.
  3. To keep the car, making a final payment of the outstanding balance.

Many people simply replace their car every couple of years, using the first option and keeping to the same dealer or manufacturer.

An alternative to personal contract purchasing is a simple car lease plan. An initial deposit is paid, which works out at three times the monthly lease payment. The lease payment is then made for 24 or 36 months, depending on the contract. At the end of the time you simply return the car and walk away. There are no obligations and you’re free to go ahead and choose your next vehicle without the complications of selling a second hand one.

To make a comparison on costs using the two methods shown above, if you take a vehicle costing ?14,995, bought through a personal contract purchase plan from a dealer, on a 3 year plan, you would pay a deposit of ?1,548. There would then be a repayment period of 36 months @ ?309 per month. The deal would guarantee you ?3,861 towards a new car if you were staying with the same dealership. Alternatively you could purchase the car outright for this sum and sell or use it in part exchange it towards your new car.

If you take the same vehicle on the second (lease) plan, you would make an initial payment of ?969 and the monthly payment would be ?323.

The other choices to consider for vehicle finance are personal loans or hire purchase. With hire purchase the loan is secured on the vehicle. Because of this, if you get behind on your repayments, the vehicle can be repossessed by the lender. Obviously, having completed the payments on the car, at the end of the period, the vehicle is yours, without any ties, limitations on mileage etc.,

Offers of low or even no-cost credit can be found. Unfortunately they’re often unavailable on the model of your choice.  In common with many other manufacturers, Vauxhall have some excellent offers with several models currently being offered at 0% interest over four years. For models not in the 0% range, for example the Astra Life 1.6 16v, the offer is considerably higher and in fact doubles the interest rate which most people pay via GMAC, the company that offers loans for customers buying directly from Vauxhall.

Of course, you don’t have to go along with the manufacturers deals and can work out your own comparisons by comparing the cost of personal loans. Log on to the internet and find a broker to check out the various loans available.

In general most car manufacturers will be able to offer some good deals when it comes to finance and it’s worth finding out what’s on offer for the car of you choice. It’s always a good idea to check what the same vehicle would cost using a personal loan and weighing up the final price paid is always worthwhile.

So, whatever your choice, personal loan, hire purchase, personal contract purchase or a simple lease plan, there are plenty of ways to finance your new car.  Do your sums right and there are big savings to be made.