Prospective car buyers are up against MSRP, GFV, PCP and APR, but Bangernomics wonders if it might all be a little bit, well... TMI
8 January 2019

Well, at least it made me snigger. We get avalanches of press releases every day and most can be digitally binned without a second thought. But I liked this Admiral Insurance one because it concerned car-buying jargon, something I know a bit about. 

I’m sure they didn’t make up the answers. The highlights are MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is a food additive (32%), GFV (Guaranteed Future Value) – gluten free vegans (23%), PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) – a sexually transmitted disease (11%) and APR (Annual Percentage Rate) – a London-based football club (6%). 

The truth is that most car buyers really don’t need to know any of that. Indeed, the last thing they should do is borrow anything, or bother their heads with what a PCP is. I would argue that understanding APR is a pretty important life skill, but otherwise the car buying public, as I have argued for decades, should simply stick to buying a car they can afford. 

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Renault Kadjar

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OK, then let’s buy a car with a GFV. You know, one that will either maintain or go up in value. The easiest type of car to buy is a runabout with a long MOT which will be worth exactly the same six months later, usually when winter is over. A 2001 Honda Accord 2.3i V-Type automatic: easy to own and drive, spacious, practical and despite 150,000 miles worth £500 all day long. I also saw a Volkswagen Lupo, a 2002 with a full history at £599, which is probably the most re-saleable car and soon it will have to start bobbing up in value. A guaranteed return is always a classic and I had the opportunity to buy a Renault 4 van the other day for £1000 and didn’t, for logistical reasons. I’m still an idiot though. 

An APR for me is something which is going to last for years, a hardy annual which will go on and on. With my coupé or at least interesting three-door hatch head on, that would lead me over and again to the rather wonderful Volvo C30. There are some real cheapies about now, but spend a solid £3500 and suddenly a 2007 1.8 SE Lux is within reach. It has a full service history and a very reasonable 60,000 miles. 

PCP? To me that’s a car for personal use. No one else needs to be on board, or at least a significant other. So maybe a coupé. Once I saw a part exchanged 2006 Peugeot 407 2.7 HDi V6 GT it was hard to get out of my head. Especially at £1200. Automatic, deep black paintwork and it looked very impressive. 

The only abbreviation you need to know is FSH (Full Service History, not Follicle-Stimulation Hormone… – ed). Knowing is one thing, checking it out is something else.

What we almost bought this week

Reliant Regal Van

New year, new start: this could be just the thing to mobilise your thrusting new enterprise in 2019. Fully restored, all-new and with a luxurious fur-lined interior, it has only 50,000 miles on the clock. It’s on sale for £14,995 – a snip compared with the £42,000 that Del Boy’s made at auction in 2017. Fluffy dice and ‘tax-inpost’ note optional. 

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

Land Rover Series 3, mileage - 129,525: As I write this, there is another niggle, but I will save that up for a future report. Just as alarming though was finding the driver’s side sliding window in my lap after a spirited slam. I was parked at the time and did attempt to re-attach it, until I got bored and also realised it was impossible. 

The great thing about Land Rovers is that you can take them to bits. So after taking out the door trim and a bit of cursing, I managed to get it back in place, although the fit isn’t perfect. 

Note to self: never shut the door with the window ajar.

Reader’s ride

BMW 320d SE Touring

Alastair France wanted to tell us about his purchase last February. “I bought a 2004/54 BMW 320d SE Touring privately for £1800 with a full BMW service history and 132,000 miles on the clock. It had a full clutch and flywheel replacement and premium tyres all round, so I knew it had been cherished by its previous owner.  I’ve had no problems with the car, just serviceable items such as replacing the front discs and pads, plus a full ‘Inspection Two’ service, which costs around £330. It seems to be very light on its tyres despite being driven quite hard. In the 10 months I’ve had the car, it’s done another 20,000 miles which included a 3000-mile trip down to the in-laws’ house in southern Spain and it didn’t skip a beat. 

“I just wish it had cruise control, then she’d be the perfect road trip companion!”

Readers’ questions

Question: Help! After the long Christmas break, I need a car fix. What do you suggest? Darren Musslewhite, Boston

Answer: An understandable condition at this time of year, but we’ve got the perfect solution: Race Retro 2019. It’s the year’s first big car show and its focus on motor racing means there won’t be a dull moment. There’ll be loads of legendary racing and classic cars on display, racing clubs showing off their prized motors and a massive autojumble, but on Saturday and Sunday there’s a live Group B rally stage, too. It’s at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, from 22-24 February. Visit raceretro.com. John Evans

Question: I need a family car but can’t decide between a Renault Scenic or a Renault Kadjar. Which do you advise? Richard Morrison, via email

Answer: You won’t be the only family torn between the Scenic’s cat-walk looks and its more functional Kadjar SUV sibling on the other side of the showroom. So let’s look at the facts: the Kadjar is cheaper than the Scenic with prices starting at £20,430 for a TCe 140 Expression+ compared with a Scenic at £21,715 for the TCe140 Play. The Scenic is better equipped and has a larger boot but the Kadjar isn’t a ‘poverty model’ and is much roomier in the back. Take the Kadjar. John Evans

Read more

Renault Kadjar review

Used car buying guide: Land Rover at 70 special​

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Join the debate

Comments
4

8 January 2019

I agree with the sentiment and PCPs are just another way to complicate and confuse car buying such that most buyers can't evaluate whether they are getting a good deal or not. However if buyers look beyond the meaningless monthly payments, the GFV figure at least confirms what we al know. Simply express this as a fraction of the car's outright purchase price and it will tell you that your car will have lost around 70% of its value in the short three year (usually limited mileage) "ownership" term - and that has to be paid for.

I'm not denying there are some good deals available, but for me they are a lazy and expensive way of aquiring car ownership.  

FMS

8 January 2019
LP in Brighton wrote:

I agree with the sentiment and PCPs are just another way to complicate and confuse car buying such that most buyers can't evaluate whether they are getting a good deal or not. However if buyers look beyond the meaningless monthly payments, the GFV figure at least confirms what we al know. Simply express this as a fraction of the car's outright purchase price and it will tell you that your car will have lost around 70% of its value in the short three year (usually limited mileage) "ownership" term - and that has to be paid for.

I'm not denying there are some good deals available, but for me they are a lazy and expensive way of aquiring car ownership.  

Meaningless?...not if being able to afford them gets you mobile in a new car with a warranty, that could well be needed for family medical reasons, for those living well away from public transport, etc. Lazy?...you are an uninformed, judgemental, selfish fool. Clearly those buyers are below your standards, as you have oodles of free cash to buy and run whatever you like.

8 January 2019

Ashlee Vance's biography of Elon Musk confirmed that I have little in common with him, for both the worse and occasionally the better. 

One anecdote that I loved, however, described Musk's loathing of acronyms.  He has banned them (or tried to) from all correspondence and communications within and from Tesla.

8 January 2019

James - What you’re talking about in this article is initialisms - they’re just abbreviations, the examples you’ve listed are not acronyms.  

Acronyms take initials to spell a word.  This whole article is actually about initialisms - PCP for example  

Hopefullly we can see a follow up article about initialisms. 

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