RAC Cars News


Can you save money on a pre-registered new car?

By raccars Published

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Pre-registered cars are owned by the dealership before they are sold to their first private owner. Pre-registering allows manufacturers to post higher sales figures than purely private sales would show. Manufacturers offer dealers big discounts to buy the cars, which the dealers can then use to draw in private buyers with a lower list price. The cars already have number plates and are kept at the dealership. The first buyer becomes the second official owner.

Pre-registered cars are effectively brand new cars which are being sold at used car prices. They are often advertised with terms including 'ex-demo' or 'delivery mileage', but realistically the only mileage these cars have undertaken has been on the back of a vehicle transporter. While this makes them sound like an absolute bargain, there can be some drawbacks.

Buy a car with your head, not your heart

Whenever you buy a car you shouldn't get carried away by an attractive price tag. Always do your research first and perform a few basic checks. Review the market to ensure that you really are making savings compared with ordering the same car brand new. Generous finance packages often include dealer contributions which could effectively wipe out the saving you would make on a pre-registered vehicle and allow you to buy brand new for the same price.

So the potential savings available on a pre-registered car depend on how you plan to finance the car purchase.

Check the paperwork

Look over the car thoroughly and give it a test drive before you place a deposit. This includes verifying that all the paperwork is correct, and that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is correct on the vehicle itself and all the associated documentation. When you buy a pre-registered car you will need to fill in section eight of the V5C registration document as you would when buying any other second hand car, and you should keep section 10.

Officially a pre-registered car is a second hand vehicle, so make sure that you understand and get written confirmation of the terms and transfer conditions of any warranty. If the new car warranty in non-transferable you could be unprotected and should consider purchasing additional cover.

What you see is what you get

If you are happy with what's being offered, there is another factor to consider; namely that being the second owner of the car will affect the resale value later on. When you are buying brand new, you get to specify a number of details such as colour and choose from the options list to suit your requirements. When you buy pre-registered, what you see is what you get.

If the model available is exactly what you would have chosen then you are lucky and are probably getting a bargain. Otherwise you will have to compromise between what you are really looking for and the potential to save money.

Negotiate a deal

Dealers usually sell off pre-registered cars when they are trying to get rid of old stock to make room for new arrivals, so they are usually pretty keen to sell at this point. March and September often see dealer sell-offs to accommodate new registration plate releases.

Dealers working to targets and with manufacturer incentives are often more amenable to a deal at the end of the month or quarter. This means that even if the price already looks good, you are in a position to haggle and possibly save even more, with the advantage that you will be able to take immediate delivery of the car instead of dealing with production backlogs.

Dealers don't always advertise a car's pre-registered status so if you see a new car wearing a number plate and a low price tag, check the registration status with the dealership.

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