Australia's Best Cars finalists 2012

Right now is a good time to buy a car, indeed a great time to buy just about anything. There are stunning deals on new cars and SUVs everywhere at the moment.

The three local makers have hundreds of cars stored in carparks and paddocks. The importers are also in a difficult situation because they are under huge pressure from head office to sell. Global sales are still sluggish as other countries slowly move away from the worst days of the GFC, so the bosses in head office want a slice of the pie in the strong Australian market.

The biggest problem with buying a new car right now is that it’s going to have a 2014 build date, so is last year’s model and loses a significant amount of its resale value.

By the way, some desperates are still holding cars with 2013 build plates and most be getting extremely worried. Make a silly offer and you might just score the deal of a lifetime.

The fall in the value of the Australian dollar makes it likely we will see prices increases to match before too long. Free trade agreements with Japan will cancel out some of the rises if cars come from that country.

The buyer is king at the moment and if they refuse to buy because of price rises the importers may have to absorb some of the cost. No promises on that one, though.

What will the car market be like in 2015? No-one knows, petrol might cost 99.9 cents per litre, meaning that large cars could rushing out of the showrooms again. Or petrol might be 159.9 cents and small cars will be the ones doing the moving.

There are a couple of things do right now. Firstly try doing nothing, and waiting for the 2015 built cars to come on stream. They may be almost as cheap as the current stock of 2014 cars – or they may not. Your call.

Secondly, get in very fast for a real bargain, insisting not only on a low price for the car, but also for a good deal on accessories, or other aftermarket items at a significant discount, possibly even for free.

The ‘free’ accessories are real price savers because the car maker is giving away items at wholesale prices but you are saving retail money, which is likely to be significantly more.

In the past car makers have been reluctant to do ‘driveaway-no-more-to-pay’ deals, because when they do it can be hard to get away from that mindset. However, there are some excellent ‘driveaway’ deals on a more and more cars these days.

Don’t just look at the price of cars, interest rates are very low. Finance companies are become increasingly more positive in their outlook. Finance companies have to lend money because that’s their major source of profit. If you have an excellent credit rating they may well be knocking on your door trying to push a good deal at an even better than advertised interest rate.

So sit down, have a good think, talk it over with your partner, friends, as many sensible people as you can think of. Then, and only then is it time to lay out your hard-earned on an expensive set of new wheels.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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