Currently reading: James Ruppert: Creativity is king for eye-catching used car ads
Advertisers need to channel their inner Mad Men if they want their handiwork to stand out in the classifieds
News
5 mins read
10 December 2019

Selling a car, as you frequently tell me, is a complete and utter faff. Not only do you have to cope with the great unwashed coming round to your gaff, kicking the tyres and probably slagging the car off, but they don’t want to pay your asking price, either.

Oddly enough, I was talking about all this the other day and what’s missing from most adverts is presentation. A car, even a nominally interesting one, needs to have a twist. Plus it needs to be properly presented and realistically priced. So let’s see if there are any particular private ads out there that catch our interest.

I only have to rewind to the previous week where I spotted an otherwise unremarkable 2006 Ford Fiesta ST at £2500: the presentation was uniformly excellent. First, the seller had taken loads of pictures, to a decent quality, and it was expertly posed to the extent that it could have been an Autocar feature star. The icing on the ST cake was refurbished alloy wheels. Your eye was drawn to that detail. Feeding the Fiesta inner geek was an extensive description that included ‘Mountune exhaust upgrade’. Excellent.

The Range Rover Evoque, meanwhile, is a vehicle that is bought for style rather than purpose. Yet 99% of the adverts I looked at had them parked in their natural habitat, the suburban executive home estate drive. I looked twice at a 110,000-mile 2013 2.2 SD4 Pure Tech, though. That was partly because it was on grass and some point stone. Yes, it had strayed off Tarmac. The background was trees. Lovely. The ad also mentioned alloys, 22in ones. They had been kerbed, but there was a ton of detail, which I liked. No doubt about the damage at all, plus some bodywork nicks were highlighted. Maximum points for accuracy. The actual description was a bit sparse but, hey, pictures tell you more than boring old words.

Convertibles should never be tucked up in a garage or on a drive. That’s why the seller of a 2011 80,000-mile Mini Cooper SD Convertible had not only cleaned it thoroughly but also made a trip into the countryside to take uncluttered, decent-quality pictures in the wild. What’s more, the description was both comprehensive and enthusiastic. The seller channelled their inner road tester, actually describing it as a fun drive and I quote: “The Mini has been a dream car for the past couple of years and makes me smile every time I drive it.” That’s how you do it, folks.

Back to top

How not to do a car advert is absolutely everywhere. Simply avoid doing what everyone else is doing on that Faceache Marketplace thing or Flea Bay site. Good luck.

What we almost bought this week

Peugeot 406 2.0 HDI SE Estate: One owner, full service history and a recent cambelt change – what’s not to like about this 120,000-mile, 2003-reg 406 wagon, described as being in good condition? Agreed, a same-age Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra have bigger business ends but the 406’s lower loading height and wide-opening tailgate let you make better use of what space there is.

Tales from Ruppert's garage

Back to top

Land Rover Series 3: The Lorry is back with a fresh MOT and some new parts. Up front, there are new hubs, so at least it won’t keep dripping on the drive. It has been a bad year for the Lorry dripping on the drive and brake fluid was just as bad as the petrol. Being a British Leyland product from the early 1980s, oil leaks are a given.

The Lorry is back to work because I’ve gutted a bathroom and getting rid of the evidence at the local tip has been a doddle. Another year of work, rest and not much play lies ahead.

Reader's ride

Audi A2: Steve is back after showing us his Audi A4. “I’ve been after this A2 for about a year and the owner eventually agreed to sell. I’ve always fancied an A2 because of the heritage and the space inside and the fact that Audi lost money on each one. My A2 was not much money but has a few bits broken, which means searching eBay etc. All part of the fun. And £30 tax is surprising. Also, some parts from Audi are cheaper than online.

“The car is a 2004 TDI 90 with 115,000 miles. I bought it from someone who has owned it for the past five years. There are a few issues, such as a broken rear light, a bonnet that needs respraying, various broken trim pieces, a chipped windscreen and cracked oil filler pipe. All will be fixed.”

Back to top

Readers' questions

Question: I’m in the market for a new VW Golf 1.5 petrol. Should I wait for the all-new model or buy a current Mk7 now? Molly Clarke, Tonbridge

Answer: I suspect that if you’re buying new, you want the latest model or else why bother? So the Mk8 it must be. It has pretty much the same engine, chassis and dimensions as the Mk7 but more technology and an updated look. However, if you suspected that there’s money to be saved by buying a Mk7 over a Mk8, you’d be right. We’ll assume you’re financing it on a PCP, in which case VW is offering a £1500 deposit contribution and finance at 3.8%, plus discounts of around £2700. Push hard and you’ll get a Match Edition with Winter pack, heated seats, LED headlights and dual-zone air-con for the same price as a Match. JE

Back to top

Question: What’s the safest thing to do if you break down on a smart motorway? Rob Parkin, via email

Answer: Highways England (HE) says that if you aren’t in a refuge area, you should get out of your car and wait behind the safety barrier, if there is one, and well clear of the car. But it also says that if there is no barrier, you should stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on and dial 999. HE says it monitors motorways constantly and would close the lane and direct help to you. But an HE report admitted it takes on average 17min for the agency to identify a broken-down vehicle in a live lane. You better buckle up securely. JE

READ MORE

What has Ford ever done for us?

Ford Ranger Raptor to be trialled by UK police forces

Exclusive: the future of Ford, according to its bosses

Join the debate

Comments
10
Add a comment…
289 10 December 2019

Guys...

Please ignore 'Take it Slowly' he is a twat  and  gets his kicks out of trying to belittle individuals with his 'superior knowledge'.

He has an opinion on everyones input but no useful input of his own. 

Paul Dalgarno 10 December 2019

I’d go further 289

289 wrote:

Please ignore 'Take it Slowly' he is a twat  and  gets his kicks out of trying to belittle individuals with his 'superior knowledge'.

He has an opinion on everyones input but no useful input of his own. 

He's just a nasty guy. Has no pleasure or worthwhile contribution to make. One of life's losers who suck the joy out of everything. My guess is he has no friends, and only types on here when he's wiped his iPad down after he's finished playing with his inadequate member. He had a girlfriend once, but she burst, and since then he's only dated Palm. 

harf 10 December 2019

Blue, £7250

that was the complete description of a car in the autotrader advert I recently bought from car store. It was actually a very well specced car albeit with some discoloured leather and a bit of cosmetic wear and tear. The advert and those other issues put others off so I ended up with a good deal. 

They offered me £100 for my 2 owner 2008 Accord diesel estate. Hilarious, I declined. Took decent photos, wordy informative description, then priced it at top end of what I thought as there was a gap in the market when I placed the ad in autotrader on Fri night. Guy took car away that Sunday having knocked me down in price by what I’d marked it up anyway. Oh, and I serviced and MOT’d it to make it max attractive. 

Daniel Joseph 10 December 2019

Too much hassle...

With one exception, I haven't sold a car privately in years, despite the fact that I really look after my cars and they should sell well.  I really can't be bothered dealing with the typical time wasters, tyre kickers and fantasists that show up on your doorstep.  Runnerbean's experience is really scary.  Imagine if he had turned up with a mate and they simply dragged you out of the car!

The exception was my last Boxster, a 2006 model I sold in 2016 with just 40k.  Reluctantly, I sold it to a good friend who was desperate to have it.  This really worried me in case something major went wrong, so  I had it serviced and inspected by my usual independent specialist and had the brake pads replaced early, even though they still had 5k miles life left in them.  I then sold the car to him for its trade-in value, and he sold it on two years later for £1k more than he paid me!  Despite that, I don't regret what I did and happy he had such a good experience.

Takeitslowly 10 December 2019

Daniel Joseph wrote:

Daniel Joseph wrote:

With one exception, I haven't sold a car privately in years, despite the fact that I really look after my cars and they should sell well.  I really can't be bothered dealing with the typical time wasters, tyre kickers and fantasists that show up on your doorstep.  Runnerbean's experience is really scary.  Imagine if he had turned up with a mate and they simply dragged you out of the car!

The exception was my last Boxster, a 2006 model I sold in 2016 with just 40k.  Reluctantly, I sold it to a good friend who was desperate to have it.  This really worried me in case something major went wrong, so  I had it serviced and inspected by my usual independent specialist and had the brake pads replaced early, even though they still had 5k miles life left in them.  I then sold the car to him for its trade-in value, and he sold it on two years later for £1k more than he paid me!  Despite that, I don't regret what I did and happy he had such a good experience.

 

"Reluctantly"?. "don't regret"?. Idiot and in denial, you are both. Fool.