If you're looking for a new car, go this month

If you're looking for a new car, go this month

The days are short and the evenings are dark – but many Brits are also in the dark when it comes to knowing that now is a good time to buy their next car whether new or used.

With consumers feeling the pinch of Christmas or spending their money on the high street rather than the forecourt, most buyers don’t come out of hibernation until the early spring. This means January - a traditionally quiet period for car sales - can be the perfect time to look for a good deal with dealers likely to welcome you with open arms. 

The only exception to this rule is for those looking to buy a used 4x4 as after three consecutive white winters, snowproof vehicles are in higher demand. But conversely, those considering buying a convertible model for this summer shouldn’t delay as the savings will be even greater. Prices for convertible models peak in summer, but demand is very low in winter, so bargains for drop tops are plentiful.

In fact, 2012 as a whole is set to be a good year for motorists to bag a good deal. Given that the retail demand for new cars is not expected to see any recovery this year it is likely that pre-registration activity will continue to be an enduring feature of the market again.  Many cars may be pre-registered by dealers to boost overall sales figures meaning  there could be some fantastic deals on ‘as-new’ cars which will technically be second hand, but are likely to have only a few hundred miles on the clock and no previous owners. Look around for pre-registered models to save thousands on an ‘as new’ car. 

Glass’s analysis shows that in the last two years, many Brits have been forced to downgrade to cheaper vehicles, gravitating to buying cars of three or more years old.  High demand in this sector means that prices are set to remain fairly stable, and ‘run-arounds’ of five or six years or older  and priced under £5,000 are likely to fare even better.  Overall the number of used car sales is predicted to be in line with last year, which will be around 6.6 – 6.8 million.

Glass’s data has also revealed that used car purchases are not just about the headline price, with buyers increasingly interested in fuel efficiency and running costs due to the economic climate. This will hold true for a wide range of budgets, be it £5,000 or £25,000. So the more fuel efficient models are expected to become more popular in 2012. Those considering buying a new car should look for vehicles with low running costs – they will be worth more than powerful, gas-guzzling models after a year or two. 

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