This may not come as a surprise, but the used car market operates all year round. So the good cars will always sell whatever the weather, prevailing conditions and time of the year.
Sometimes, though, the availability and prices of used cars can change on a seasonal basis. So as well as having your wits and a load of used car facts about you, don’t forget to consult the calendar and tap the barometer before you consider buying.
Traditionally, the fortunes of the new and used car markets have been linked to the change of registration plate. When that happens, it creates an artificially high demand for new cars and, to help pay for them, a larger number of part-exchanges flood into the car trade. This provides a variety of opportunities for bargain hunters.
If you can be patient, anticipate and take advantage of the seasonal swings and roundabouts, that’s all the better. However, if you need a car tomorrow, don’t worry too much about the weather and just get on with it. Either way, 2015 is going to be a cracker for the used car buyer.
Supercars are always with us. They are not subject to the fickleness of the weather, or anything much, except global depression. Even then, there is a hard core of buyers, and not necessarily enthusiasts, who will always want the next very bestest thing. That may leave the previous year’s model looking for fresh heated garage space. Oh, yes, and many supercars don’t only go very fast; they depreciate quickly, too.
A new Aston Martin Vanquish is always something to celebrate and, as the company enters an exciting new era, now is the time to preserve the old stuff for future generations. Right now, you can bag yourself an original big-bodied, muscular Vanquish from 2003 for about £50k. It has dropped in value considerably but should start to bob up again, and 2015 could be a smart time to buy.
Smarter people might be looking at bargain Ferraris this year, but actually there are no bargains and it is far too obvious a buy. Make 2015 the year of Maserati. Some might pitch them at Jaguar XK level, but that would be wrong; a GranTurismo is far more charismatic and a 2007 4.2 is now about £33k.
There is the Lamborghini factor, of course, but Gallardos are still holding out at £60k and they may even start to rise. Meanwhile, Audi’s interpretation of the whole supercar thing, the R8, is looking good. Over the past two years, I’ve watched them gently come down by £7k-£8k.
Consider a 2008 4.2 FSI. All the factory-fit extras – Bang & Olufsen 12-speaker sound system, upgraded sat-nav, rear parking camera, Alcantara headlining and Magnetic Ride dampers – would have pumped the new price by £10k. Instead, it may cost around £42k now, or less for older model years.
Used sports cars
This is the year of the Mazda MX-5. The new version won’t be arriving until the latter part of the year, and more realistically 2016 for some, so it might be better to strike now and get the Mk3. Right now, a 2011-registered 1.8i SE with less than 60k miles on the clock is £7400. I did stumble across a 2010 version with just 30k miles for the same money, which is a bargain.
Otherwise, you could wait until the summer has gone and scoop up a private one, because there should be a lot of very happy owners part-exchanging theirs in anticipation of the new, improved MX-5. Yes, prices are going to fluctuate, but the trend is definitely downwards.
The other really big sports car arrival is the Audi TT. That will be a mid-year thing, so there are already some turning up in the trade that are worth a second glance. If you have up to £12k in hand, you can choose between some decent private and trade deals. Indeed, as a celebration of petrol power, a 2010 1.8T FSI roadster at £11,500 would seem like a smart buy, especially in white and with a reasonable 41k miles. The dealer price is closer to £12k, but at least you would have a warranty. A dealer 2.0 TDI quattro is around that figure, so there is no shortage of TT options.