The car market can appear confusing sometimes.
The other day, I read that everyone is switching to brand-new cars on easy-peasy PCP payments while, at the same time, everyone else is buying more bangers than ever. That’s the car buying world according to the car price peeps at Glass’s - and they may well be right.
So on the one hand, there are car buyers switching out of bangers into new cars because it’s easy, while on the other hand, the banger market, such as it is, is booming. This is unusual.
What usually happens is the resultant oversupply of old rubbish either depresses prices or clogs up salvage yards. However, Glass’s has the stats to back up its claims. Apparently, the average auction price for a decade-old car in January 2013 was £725, but in June this year it was £875. So enough new buyers are entering the market to soak up the extra volume, but why?
Now I’ve been banging on about the supreme good sense of buying used for rather a long time. It is actually 25 years since I gave the practice a name, which disappointingly is not yet in the Oxford English Dictionary.
We don’t need to look at stats but can just let our eyes drift to Autocar's ‘Bangernomics best buys’ section. There we have the proof that you, dear Autocar reader, have been doing the banger thing as a matter of course for some time, and very successfully, too.
For its part, Glass’s cites improving economic conditions, rising confidence in people to buy and run cars at the entry level and the continuing improvement in the quality of older cars.
“We see many bangers going through auction in excellent condition at very reasonable prices and, for many people, they make extremely sensible purchases,” Glass’s says. That could be me talking, except I’d not necessarily recommend you buy these sorts of cars at auction. You could come a cropper.
I think Bangernomics is, finally, a bit fashionably hip right now. Although modern cars are more dependable, they either work or they don’t. Once they stop, it’s as victims of Silicon Valley syndrome, and it’s going to take a costly garage geek to sort it out instead of a cheaper bloke with a hammer. So I don’t know if Bangernomics now needs a ‘best before’ date, or we just learn to live with a sudden ECU-related expiry.
Which brings us back to PCPs. Owning a car before it suddenly expires makes sense. Except that instead of shelling out those first few instalments, buy a late-1990s Japanese car for buttons and begin your Bangernomics journey with pride.