Buying a second-hand car can, for some guys at least, be a long and confusing process. Just ask recent first-time car buyer and DMARGE senior writer James Booth.
But for those more well versed in the art of negotiation, who know their horsepower from their torque and ABS from their RWD, buying and owning a second-hand vehicle can actually be exciting and something to look forward to.
And right now there has never been a better time to buy approved used.
Don’t believe us? We hit up Luke Lalor, Managing Director of MOTORbiz in Melbourne, and one that predominantly deals with prestige cars in the AU$30-70k price bracket, who told us the pandemic has brought a positive change to the car industry and one you should be taking advantage of.
Luke starts by telling us that despite whatever preconceptions you may have right now, with regards to people not wanting to head outside or spend any money due to job uncertainty, “people are out looking”.
“Even if it just means they’re wasting time, getting out of the house and away from the wife, people are heading to second-hand dealerships to kick some tyres.”
Indeed, Savings.com.au reports new car sales in Australia in March took a sharp tumble, down 17.9% from the same month in 2019. So are people out looking for used vehicles instead, to avoid the public space offered by large dealerships? Or are they keeping their wallets firmly shut until the pandemic subsides?
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We questioned Luke to ask if now is a good time to buy. He replied with a resounding “Yes. It’s a great time to buy a car.”
His reasoning? “People don’t want to be taking public transport right now and they’ve got even less chance of hopping on a plane to fly away somewhere exotic for a holiday.”
“Instead, they’re looking, or if not, they should be looking for a new (used) car to upgrade to or invest in that can take them on road trips around Australia.”
So, you’ve decided today is car-buying day, should you be doing anything differently were you not in the midst of a pandemic? We’ve all been there – ok, maybe James hasn’t – you turn up to a dealership with a price you want to pay in mind and you’re not going to take no for an answer from the salesman. You should forget this tactic right away, according to Luke.
“There are good buyers around. People shouldn’t be trying to haggle the price just because of COVID. Dealers are already aware of the current climate and will no doubt have already made price changes to reflect it.”
“They still need to make a living at the end of the day and keep the business afloat, we’re all in a similar situation. So they’re unlikely to want to negotiate as much.”
We pressed Luke for some top tips when out on the forecourt, his answer was rather simple “If the car looks good, has full service history and no body panel damage etc. Buy it. Don’t be cheeky.”
To echo Luke’s words, if you were under the assumption that the pandemic is in fact the worst time to decide to buy a car for yourself or the family, you’d be wrong. Decide on a budget, search for some cars you’d like to add to your collection, whether it be a mid-life roadster or a large people mover, get out to a dealership and snap up a bargain.