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Buying An Older Vehicle May Be False Economy

Motorists are holding onto their cars for longer as the economic recession continues to bite, new research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals.

Updated

Motorists are holding onto their cars for longer as the economic recession continues to bite, new research from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals.

The average car on UK roads is now 7.44 years old, two months older than a year ago, suggesting that cash-strapped drivers are holding onto their cars for longer. The squeeze on household spending means motorists are looking at different ways of managing their travel costs. Some are deciding to choose slightly older, cheaper cars when they change their vehicle.

According to the society, this could be a false economy however, as the average new car is 20 per cent more fuel efficient than the average seven year old car, saving typical average motorist around £400 a year in fuel costs. 

Clara Gibson, General Manager at Ca Cars commented “As an industry instructors we do far more mileage than the average motorist, so the savings mount up much quicker. Influenced by their tendency for strong fuel economy, registrations of new diesel cars has been long established in the driving instructor industry. From speaking to our customers we find that the average driving instructor that does 30K pa puts in around £100 per week in diesel so even changing from the old model Fiesta 1.4TDCi at 68.9mpg fuel economy to the new model 1.5TDCi at 76.4 mpg gives a potential fuel saving of 11% which equates to just under £50pcm.  Our aim is to help instructor seek out the most fuel efficient cars to reduce running costs to combat rising fuel costs. With the decline in the number of multi-car households which suggests families are having to economise with their personal transport needs we have also seen the number of customer wanting 5 door vehicles increase so it is more practical for family use as well.”

“As a contract hire customer our contracts vary from 7 to 24 months in length, keeping the tie in to a minimum and giving customers the option to take advantage of  these new fuel efficient models regularly. Customers often look at used car contracts that attract a cheaper rental but with the better fuel economies when you look at the figures this can be false economy as the difference in rental and fuel savings means that you can often upgrade to the newer models for no additional cost.”

For those instructors who purchase their vehicles, there is a tendency to keep their cars longer, up to 5 years or even longer. This is due to finance repayments to a lower amount to allow funds to pay for maintenance. However as maintenance costs increase generally as the car gets older especially over 60k, people are keeping their cars around one to two years longer but not necessarily getting them regularly serviced which can affect not only the fuel economy but the reliability of the vehicle.

More than one in 10 AA members said in January this year that they have reduced spending on car servicing. The important thing to remember if keeping hold of your car for an extra year or so is to have it regularly serviced and maintained so it remains safe and reliable and running costs are kept to a minimum.
Coupled with sub-100g/km CO2 paying London's Congestion Charge zone.

 

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