Tuesday, May 13, 2014

According to a recent survey, women are buying more cars than ever before. The survey on autoremarketing.com found that women car buyers are the fastest growing segment of car buyers - they account for over an estimated 50% of new-car purchases and influence 80% of them.

Several car dealerships in South Africa including CMH Toyota in Melrose, Johannesburg and Auto Atlantic in Cape Town confirmed that this fact is true locally as well.

“Women are more confident, more educated and better prepared financially to make a car-buying decision than ever before - but there’s no getting around it – women are treated differently at car dealerships,” says 1st for Women Insurance’s Executive Head, Robyn Farrell, adding, “it’s very important that you’re prepared to ask the right questions when buying a car so that you are treated as a savvy buyer.”

Farrell advises car shoppers to know everything they can about the car they are interested in buying including their true market value (book value). “Research online and talk to drivers of the car. This will enable you to ask intelligent questions. Negotiate the best deal for everything from the price of the car, the value of your trade-in, the package prices, the dealer documentation fees, and the interest rate on your financing.”

Here are some other important car buying tips from 1st for Women Insurance: 

  • Ask to take a 20-minute test drive. Check the car out in light and heavy traffic, over hills, curves and bumps to see how well the car handles. Test the brakes by feigning an emergency stop. Try parking it to see how well it responds. Is it a quiet ride? Are the seats comfortable? Can your kids fit in the back? Does this car suit your lifestyle?
  • Ask if there are any aftermarket parts on the car that the dealer has added like mud flaps, tinted windows etc. as these can lead to a price mark-up.
  • If it’s a second-hand car, make sure to find out how many kilometers are on the engine and whether the car has had any accidents, had any parts replaced or been used as a demo vehicle.
  • Check carefully, even if it’s a brand new car, to see if there is any damage.
  • Find out if there is a warranty coverage or perks like free maintenance.
  • What is the fuel consumption like? Knowing how heavy your car is on petrol will prepare you from the outset. Remember that the figure given to you represents ideal driving conditions without taking air conditioning or heavy traffic driving into account.
  • Ask about the servicing cost of the car and find out if there is somewhere convenient to get the car serviced.
  • Which parts are not covered by the dealership or the manufacturer? Ask about the separate warranty of these parts so in case they fail, you know where to claim the warranty for these specific items.
  • Be prepared to walk away.

“Remember that you need to be clear when you walk into a dealership about what you want and never ever buy a car on impulse,” concludes Farrell.

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