KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
When you decide to buy a new car, take a look around. There are a tonne of options to choose from.
Make a list of everything you need from a car; and be realistic about your requirements. How many seats do you need? How much luggage capacity? Looks, of course, are very important too. Seriously, who wants to drive an ugly car?
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Once you know what you need – and want – from a car, it’s time to do your research, and getting online is the quickest way to get the information you need. Visit manufacturer’s websites to read all about the cars, check out reviews and look for pricing in as many places as possible.
Most company websites allow you to actually build a car with the extras you want, and gives you an idea of the pricing.
Read consumer websites and reviews from actual owners of the models you’re interested in so you’ll be an expert before you even walk into a dealership.
DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE
Cars are a lot like shoes; they might look awesome on the shelf, but they can cause untold amounts of pain to wear.
The test drive is all-important. A car may look great, but you won’t really know if it’s the one until you get behind the wheel.
Don’t let dealers talk you into a quick run around the block either. Make sure you spend several hours, if not several days, with the car and use it as you would every day. You’ll either fall further in love or kick it to the curb.
With the research done, and the car selected, walk into the dealership ready to do a Julia Gillard, and NEGOTIATE!
Don’t settle for a car simply because it’s on the lot. If it isn’t what you want, order one with everything you’re after. You may have to wait for it, though.
If there are cars on the dealership floor with all the options, go for it! You might get lucky and come up with an ex-demonstrator model that’s done only a handful of kilometres and get a bargain.
Like any contract for the purchase of a valuable asset read all the contracts thoroughly, and if you can, have someone with legal knowledge take a look too. That way you won’t get any nasty surprises.
CASH OR CREDIT?
Most people these days don’t have the cash to buy a car up-front, or if they do, don’t want to deplete their savings.
If cash is an option, weigh-up what financing the purchase will cost. If the interest payments on the loan are more than you could earn by putting the money into a term deposit, then paying up-front could be the way to go.
For most this is not an option and this is where finance comes in. The dealers generally offer a range of finance options that may be a suitable option for you. Just don’t go rushing into anything before you shop around for a finance deal that suits you best.
Speak to banks, building societies and other lenders. If you don’t get any love, consider signing on the dotted line for dealer finance.
WHAT ABOUT LEASING?
More and more people are choosing to lease their vehicles particularly where a vehicle is used for business purposes.
One of the options that may be available to employees is a novated lease, where repayments are taken from your pre-tax pay. This means a drop in your taxable income – which can be great come tax time, but will generally involve paying fringe benefits tax. Best get financial advice from your accountant or financial adviser and check with your employer if you are considering a novated lease.
There’s no need to worry about servicing and maintaining the car either – that can be part of the deal. Many novated lease arrangements even cover your fuel usage.This is the way many people are now including their vehicles as part of their remuneration package – known as salary sacrificing.
There are other leasing options, but again, you’re best served talking to your accountant or a financial adviser to get all the facts before taking the plunge.
For more information, head to www.toyota.com.au