Tag Archives: car finance

Using PCP to buy a new car

When I was young I was taught to save before I bought things. In fact I don’t think my Mum ever owned a credit card.

OK this philosophy doesn’t apply when buying a house but it has always informed my car shopping behaviour.

If I haven’t been able to afford the wheels I wanted, I have either made do with an older car, moved down a brand or used a personalised FXY number plate which I still have.

But apparently nobody saves to buy a new car nowadays so it’s time to get with the beat and understand how the PCP model works.

The PCP car ownership finance model

The market for new cars has been fuelled by competitive finance rates, a tendency for some dealerships to stockpile pre-registered cars at a discount and the ease of car finance methods called Purchase Contract Plans (PCP) and leasing arrangements.

Apparently anyone still wanting to buy a car using cash (older drivers we’re told) may be paying over the odds doing this – how confusing is that? This is because the car salesman is incentivised to sell you a finance deal from the manufacturer that enables him to earn more commission AND discount the car by more than he could do if you paid cash.

Keeping matters simple here, if you have a spare couple of hundred pounds a month (and often much less) you could be driving a brand new small family car and, depending on your contract/likely depreciation/annual mileage you could be able to trade up to a newer/flasher model in Year 2 or 3 and keep paying the same or a lower monthly bill.

Most contracts give you the option to buy out at the end of the period with what is called a balloon payment but I was reassured that 95% of motorists that have chosen to buy a car this way don’t; they simply swap cars and keep going.

Experian research tells us that one in five 18 to 24 year olds lease their car as in hiring one with the majority of cars costing more than £11,000 and nearly four out of ten paying for this by credit of some sort. Whereas 68% of drivers in the 46 to 50 age group pay for cheaper cars (worth £8000 or under) using cash.

I also learned that pet owners can be clobbered severely by wear and tear clauses and apparently few motorists know whether they’ve signed up to a contract or leasing plan.

Whilst the younger drivers are more at home with this monthly instalment method of car ownership and financing, increasingly older motorists are learning how to sign up for a PCP deal then using their ‘opt out’ rights to legitimately cancel that arrangement with the finance house ie pay it off using cash.

The more I learn about this car finance model the simpler and more compelling it becomes. For as long as one’s job is secure and there’s no sign of uncertainty on the horizon.


What do motorists get from the RAC Approved Buysure dealer scheme?

Would you expect a RAC Approved Buysure dealer to sell a £9000 car with significant safety failings?

caroline_mini_1When Caroline bought a £9000 car from a RAC Approved Buysure dealer in 2014 she didn’t expect things to go wrong.

When they did, almost straight away, involving deficient tyres and brakes, she expected the dealer, the RAC or their 6 month warranty scheme to take care of her.

When none of them did, over time, she was understandably angry.

After joining us she asked us to check this scheme out and tell her story so women drivers like her might learn from her expensive experience.

We needed to be cautious here of course. Knowing that Citizens Advice receive more than 80,000 complaints a year about used cars and the RAC is a big business that trades on its reputation for trust, surely their scheme must be one of the best there is?

Maybe Caroline’s experience was a one off? But could there be flaws to the RAC Approved Buysure vehicle preparation standard where unscrupulous car dealers are concerned?

We decided to take on Caroline’s case and find out how the RAC goes about its Buysure approved used car dealer business.

We started by putting her lengthy story to the RAC for our own peace of mind, giving them time to look at this again and see what they could do for us.

Their brief reply (below & inaccurate about the finances and brakes) made their lack of customer concern clear and contained a sentence that worried us. Their Head of Media Relations told me that…

“…the Buysure scheme does not replace the buyer’s obligation to ensure the car is bought as advertised and they are satisfied about its condition at the time of sale.”

This, in a nutshell remains the essence of Caroline’s predicament. If an RAC Approved Buysure dealer doesn’t have to check that a car is sold as advertised and is satisfied with its condition at the time of sale, how does the RAC police the quality standards it promotes to motorists otherwise?

Put another way, perhaps motorists might be better off paying for a used car check to verify the financial and mechanical state of the car in question? And saving the equivalent of any warranty payment to go towards the cost of repairing any future failings themselves?

In Caroline’s case, she bought her dream £9000 car via the Auto Trader website because it was advertised by a RAC Approved Buysure dealer who confirmed the car had a MOT and had been serviced. On the strength of this she travelled 90 miles there and back to complete a big, important and complicated car transaction on her own (she’s a single Mum). This included Barclays car finance and the part exchange of her much loved 02 Mini before returning to collect her daughter from school. She clearly placed a lot of trust in this dealer and the RAC scheme.

Very soon after she became concerned about the car’s handling and got the Buysure papers out. These included the car’s latest MOT (see below). She then read the service handbook to see the dealer had added the cheapest possible service, simply an oil and filter change. In fact the car hadn’t had a proper service during its life – a fact which the garage in question would have known when they bought this car, cheaply for sure.

So how could any RAC Approved Buysure garage have ticked the 82 point checklist without drawing Caroline’s attention to serious safety deficiencies?

Or better still, without addressing these and having the car re-MOT tested pre-sale?

If Caroline (or any other innocent motorist) had known the £9000 car had these failings and hadn’t been regularly serviced she (and any warranty company surely) would realise that expensive bills lurked around the corner. And go elsewhere.

The RAC Approved Buysure dealer website

The RAC website says

“The RAC Approved Dealer Network has been developed to give motorists confidence and peace of mind.”

“You can purchase your next car with confidence and peace of mind”

But nowhere does the RAC accept responsibility for approved car dealer failings? Which seems odd in an unregulated industry where the actions of a few bad dealers can affect the good reputation of the many?

We then looked at the Buysure Vehicle Preparation standard which seems to a non techie like me to be as thorough as one could be.

Other than the fact this it does not have to list any MOT advisories or that a car has been regularly serviced.

But anyone can write a car check list and badge it accordingly – surely the important thing is that it is policed in some way?

How does the RAC approve their Buysure Dealer network?

We wanted to know how the RAC vet and then police their RAC Approved Buysure dealers, especially the smaller ones. This is what they say.

‘We visit our Approved Dealers at least 6 times a year to check their vehicles are prepared to our standard’

This leaves a lot of room for leeway it seems to me. Some 350 days a year, which is worrying if you are an unscrupulous car dealer using the RAC Approved Buysure scheme as a sign of quality, to lure in unsuspecting motorists like Caroline?

We then looked at the vehicle preparation checklist and documentation. Maybe this was computerised so the RAC could look out for any comments/exceptions that might raise concern? No, these are handwritten forms and we doubt that the RAC sees all of them.

Perhaps it should put a simple system in place to identify exceptions?

Perhaps they should adopt a name and shame policy – or ask us to help here?

Presumably they monitor motorist feedback too? Strangely this didn’t happen re Caroline?

Caroline’s experience of the RAC Approved Buysure scheme

Here is Caroline’s story.

In April 2014 Caroline, a mum with two daughters and living in Norwich, found her dream Mini automatic convertible when car shopping at the Auto Trader website. The car was being sold by RAC Approved Dealer (no longer on their network), Whinbush Garage in Letchworth Garden City.

Caroline was happy because an RAC Approved Dealer was reputable and the car was part of the RAC BuySure scheme including a six month warranty, presumably based on the 82 point vehicle preparation checklist? She raised the car finance she needed from Barclays to complete the £9000 purchase price for her new and shiny silver Mini Convertible automatic.

The salesman had confirmed the car had a recent MOT and had been serviced by them so she felt sufficiently confident about things.

caroline_MOTJust two weeks later she was unhappy about the Mini’s tyre grip in a local car park. At that stage she dug out the paperwork Whinbush had supplied. This contained the scanned MOT certificate stating sdvisories on it. All tyres were clearly in a poor condition and were close to the legal limit. One had a nail in it. (The BuySure Checklist said ‘normal wear’).

She then saw for the first time that Whinbush had indeed ‘serviced’ the car but this was the cheapest variety, namely an oil and filter change. Looking through the service handbook she saw the car had not had a full service at any stage of its history. Undoubtedly Whinbush knew this but failed to tell her.

Caroline got the car checked locally in Norwich to be told the tyres were no longer legal/safe. She bought a complete set of new like-for-like Pirelli runflats for £662. There was no longer any sign of the stated nail. Had the tyre been repaired?

The car was also ‘juddering’ and this was finally identified as the brakes yet Whinbush had ticked ‘Particular attention to the operation of clutch, transmission, steering, suspension and brakes including ABS’ on the Buysure checklist? This bill came to £190.36.

When asked about all this, Whinbush offered to replace the tyres at Caroline’s cost with a cheap Wanly brand she had never heard of. They dismissed the brakes invoice as wear and tear (as did the warranty company) but shouldn’t the RAC Buysure Scheme require safety items to be rectified and re-MOT’d pre sale?

All this time the car had been within a 6 month RAC Warranty, presumably secured because of the RAC certificate confirming the car had been prepared to the RAC 82-point approved preparation standard. We believe Caroline would have been within her reasonable rights to challenge the dealer within the Sale Of Goods Act if only to rectify the safety shortcomings and get a new MOT.

But she didn’t know of this, she was on her own and she trusted and expected the RAC to do the honourable thing by her.

To cut a long story short, Caroline involved as many parties as possible to help her get the car restored to the condition she expected it to be in, for the price she paid.

She wanted the RAC to inspect it, service it and pay for the tyres and brake repair.

The RAC accepted no responsibility despite their Buysure vehicle preparation scheme being a contributory factor here. They simply referred her to their Warranty scheme (operated by The Warranty Group) for the brakes claim knowing this would be dismissed due to their wear and tear terms.

Caroline was able to negotiate a goodwill gesture of £150 from Barclays which they deducted from Whinbush. She also received an ex gratia payment of £150 from a sympathetic lady at The Warranty Group who confirmed they were removing Whinbush from their warranty scheme.

Persevering with the RAC’s unsympathetic Head of Customer Care she was eventually offered a further £362 ‘in full and final settlement’ of any future claim against them. She would then have had the tyres paid for.

But she wanted the RAC to inspect and service her car instead, to give her the peace of mind she expected when she bought the car in the first place. They refused to do this, she felt a nuisance in her dealings with them and this matter is still unresolved.

The costs

Caroline has incurred costs of more than £10300 for the Mini that continues to let her down.

She received a total of £300 in compensation (from Barclays and The Warranty Group) but did not accept the £362 the RAC offered her because she still wants them to inspect and fully service her car instead.

These costs are
+ £9000 for a car that did not meet RAC BuySure vehicle preparation standards.
+ £662 for safety related new runflat tyres
+ £190 for safety-related brake repairs
+ a growing 50 hours of her (and our) time

Caroline has involved Citizens Advice, Trading Standards, the ASA, the Used Car Guy and finally FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

The RAC’s Buysure reply

“The RAC’s BuySure scheme aims to give buyers greater confidence in purchasing cars from RAC approved dealers as vehicles are prepared to the BuySure 82-point standard and come with at least three months’ RAC breakdown and RAC Warranty cover.

As the independent dealer Caroline bought her car from failed to meet its obligations under the BuySure scheme and then did not resolve her issues despite our requests, the RAC terminated its relationship.

However, it is important to understand that the BuySure scheme does not replace the buyer’s obligation to ensure the car is bought as advertised and they are satisfied about its condition at the time of sale.

The law in this kind of situation is clear that a buyer’s recourse is with the dealer who sold the car. Despite this the RAC made a £662 gesture of goodwill over and above its responsibilities to cover the cost of the new tyres. We are therefore very confident that we have done everything that could be reasonably expected of us to help Caroline.

As this still appears to have fallen short of her expectations the remaining options are to engage the government-backed Motor Codes organisation as an independent arbiter or to take action directly against the dealer. In the latter instance, the RAC would be happy to provide supportive evidence to help Caroline’s case.

The brake issue highlighted was declined as an RAC Warranty claim due to the fact it related to wear and tear of brake pads and discs, which are not covered under the terms of the product as they are classed as consumables. This was noticed six months after purchase meaning the wear and tear may have occurred in that time and not been evident to the dealer at the time of sale.

Simon Williams
Media Relations Manager

Our thoughts about the RAC Buysure scheme

1/ As things stand, even if the car is sold by a RAC Approved Buysure dealer, clearly the motorist is expected to check

+ the latest MOT for any serious/safety-related advisories
+ has a service history

If any used car doesn’t have a service history (and we’re talking about a £9000 car here remember) our advice is to WALK AWAY. It doesn’t matter how nice and shiny it is, it will let you down in time and any warranty company will claim a legitimate ‘wear and tear amendment.

The failing in this system is surely that a used car dealer who buys cars without service histories is able to sell them cheap without any innocent motorist realising what this means.

2/ I feel sorry for the many good RAC Approved Buysure dealers who use this marketing scheme in good faith.

If the RAC only audits Approved Dealers c6 times a year they are placing a tremendous trust on their fast growing network of used car dealers to do the right thing by their Buysure scheme during the remaining 350 days a year.

Presumably this is why Simon says ‘a buyer’s recourse is with the dealer who sold the car’ not the RAC?

This is a disappointing caveat emptor attitude for motorists to hear ie when things go wrong, you’re on your own.

In this case the dealer knew the car hadn’t been regularly serviced and failed to draw this to Caroline’s attention. She didn’t know she couldn’t rely on the Buysure scheme here.

Motorists should be able to buy a dream Mini for £9000 and expect reasonable value for money. Let’s remember, that’s all Caroline expected.

3/ Whinbush garage was clearly at fault. They didn’t just infringe the RAC Buysure standards but probably the Sale of Goods Act too.

4/ Warranty companies know that a poorly serviced car equals mechanical claims it will reject under cover of ‘wear and tear’. Maybe regular servicing should be a minimum standard for the cars they underwrite?

5/ Clearly the RAC MUST look at their Buysure scheme again to make sure other motorists don’t fall between the scheme’s cracks like Caroline.

I’d like to think they’d look at their invitation to inspect and service her car again.

Why wouldn’t they do this to give her the ‘confidence and peace of mind’ she expected, as promised, from a RAC Approved Buysure dealer?

And so I could add this as a happy ending to this sad story?


In addition to this post we have since introduced and handed out Red Cards to both Whinbush Garage and the RAC Buysure scheme via our YouTube channel. After sharing this story with James Foxall at Telegraph Cars this was also featured in his column in June which we appreciate.

PS: If you’d like to comment here, please email info@foxyladydrivers.com.

PPS: Simon William’s statement that the RAC made a £662 gesture isn’t accurate. £150 came from Whinbush via Barclays and £150 came from The Warranty Group. Caroline did not accept the £362 from the RAC because she wanted them to inspect and service her car as she’d expected them to have done at the time of handover. And even if she had accepted £662 that merely pays for the tyres she needed to replace the illegal ones. Nor is his statement about Whinbush not knowing the condition of the brakes at sale time – that’s clearly not the case if he’d checked the MOT advisories here.

PPPS: We have since discovered that the RAC Warranty and RAC Dealer network are both run by The Warranty Group (TWG) Isle of Man Ltd. This suggests that dealers are appointed on the basis of their warranty sales potential and as such we do not consider this vested interest to be in the best interest of motorists who, like Caroline, trust a RAC named dealer to carry out rigorous and ethical pre-sales car checks. Knowing now that TWG only check dealers approx 6 times a year, we are not convinced that RAC Approved dealers are necessarily as conscientious or honourable as the RAC name might suggest. Just imagine, when a dealer is not as thorough as they should be, and a warranty claim is denied on the basis of wear and tear, as per Caroline’s experience, who is TWG more likely to support in the circumstances?

If the RAC (who has licensed TWG to provide this motoring service under their name) wishes to address our PPPS concern and/or put us straight here, we’ll publish their response for your information.

Car Finance – what are my options?

keep-calm-and-do-your-homework-84Walking everywhere takes too long, cycling’s out of the question when there’s shopping and children to consider and public transport is both inconvenient and unreliable, as well as potentially terrifying when travelling alone at night.

It’s clearly decision time. Time to rethink your personal travel arrangements. In a nutshell, it’s time to get yourself a new car. It’s the only way to travel… unless you can afford a helicopter or a private jet that is!

And here you are, wandering around a car showroom looking for your practical runabout, when suddenly you spot a gleaming Toyota RAV that ticks all the boxes on your dream car shortlist.

Your heart starts to beat a little faster. You can picture yourself at Goodwood, en route to the stables; free to do what you like and go where you please, in all weathers, whenever…

But wait a second, how are you going to pay for this car? How do other people pay?

Well you’ve at least three options to consider…

Personal loan

A car loan is the most popular form of car finance. Whatcar.com tell us that 33 per cent of all car deals go down this way. The pros are pretty obvious, you get instant ownership of the vehicle as long as you keep up the payments. You’ve got to check out the APR on each loan and work out the amount you have to pay back each month. The longer the payback period, the less amount that has to be paid, but the larger the amount of interest. Also, an unsecured personal loan will mean that any of your assets can be taken if you default on your payments. So make sure you check out the details and get the best deal possible.

Hire Purchase

If you don’t go down the car loan route, then, chances are, you’ll get your car on hire purchase. So how does this work? You pay a deposit, around 10 per cent, followed by fixed monthly payments. The major drawback here is that the car is not actually owned by you, it’s owned by the hire purchase company until you’ve made your final payment, then it’s yours. Also the credit on a hire purchase agreement is secured against the car, so that only the car will be taken if you default on your loan.

Car Dealer Finance

If a car loan and hire purchase is not for you then you can always go down the car dealer finance route. But be sure to consider this option with your eyes wide open. Do some research and don’t just look at what the monthly repayments are or even the APR; take a look at what the overall payment will be for the entirety of the deal. And remember, the great thing about dealer finance is that you can negotiate with them. So feel free to haggle that interest rate down. Just like hire purchase the only thing at risk here is the car, if you default.

Finally, if none of these three options appeals to you, then there is another way of paying for a car: self-finance. Although if you could afford to make a purchase this big without the requirement for some short-term credit you probably wouldn’t be reading this!

guestblogThis is a guest blog from NatWest.

Why a second-hand car is the foxy choice for many women

This Guest Blog is written by Jane Whittle, the Marketing Manager of ACF Car Finance Limited.

We all know about the massive savings to be made when you buy a used car. But there are even more reasons why a new car can be a no-no for many motorists and here are just some of these to illustrate why second-hand cars are now the first choice for many foxy lady drivers in today’s economy.

My girl friend Jill was looking crestfallen. Earlier that day, she had kissed goodbye to £12,500 for a new Ford – and that same afternoon, I had bumped into her (not literally, you understand) in Tesco’s car park. I had to admit, her new silver Fiesta did cut quite a dash, and on the back seat I could see the bouquet of flowers and bottle of bubbly she’d been given by her grateful dealer. So why the long face?

The high cost of depreciation

“Do you know what, I’ve just heard a programme on the radio about buying cars…” she confided in me. “And it said that the value of a new vehicle can drop by up to fifteen percent as soon as it’s driven off the forecourt. That means I’ve already spent nearly two thousand pounds today, and I’ve not even started shopping!”

I had to sympathise, but as my job involves helping people to buy used cars – especially if they have a less than spotless credit history – I was hardly surprised. Jill, of course, was completely right: the minute your shiny new car drives onto the tarmac outside the showroom, it becomes a second-hand vehicle and an awfully large chunk of cash has suddenly disappeared from its re-sale price.

And I’m afraid the depreciation story only gets worse. In the first three years of its life, a new car will lose approximately 40 percent of its value. In Jill’s case, that’s £5,000 disappearing into thin air.

All of which, you might think, presents a pretty powerful argument for going without the free bunch of flowers, buying a used car instead and arranging for daily deliveries of rare orchids with some of the savings. You’d be right, too. But in fact, the benefits of buying second-hand go even deeper than that, and suggest why more people than ever now go down the used car road.

Forget the savings for a sec, and let’s look at the improved motoring lifestyle which can come with a used car. Buying new, you might well have to forego all those tempting toys and higher-grade models to keep within budget – but at a used car level, they come much more easily within grasp. Extra features, such as sat-nav, heated seats, a bigger engine, or more luxurious trim suddenly count for a lot less after the car has left the showroom.

What may have added literally thousands to the price of a new vehicle can fall away to almost nothing once the car is a few years old. The premium for all those extras may total just a few hundred pounds – or less – compared with the price of a standard second-hand model.

You might even be able to move up a whole class of car on the basis of the much keener prices.

Be sure to factor in the cost of insurance

Insurance is another area where second-hand holds all the trump cards. Although a new car’s value does plummet like a stone from the moment you take possession, this actually doesn’t hold much sway with insurance companies. From their point of view, they will have to shell out at the almost-new value if you have an accident the following month, and their premiums reflect this.

Remember too that insuring a used car is often much more affordable for younger and more mature drivers.

Do your homework about car reliability

There’s something to be said for the peace of mind which can be gained by buying second-hand. Just consider: whatever make and model you choose, there will be more on-line reports and reviews available to read about than you can shake a gear-stick at. Be they owner-satisfaction reviews or write-ups by motoring journalists, you’ll very quickly get a very clear picture of any given car’s strengths and possible quirks.

In other words, you can make an informed decision based on the experiences of others – and that will give you a pretty good steer as to the model you’d most likely to have a relationship with.

Sadly, no such reassurance is available to the buyers of new cars which have been recently launched onto the UK market. How often do we read of recalls to rectify faults, and of shortcomings and problems which are only picked up after the car has been in circulation for a year or so, and which are corrected in subsequent models. Bad luck if you were one of the first in the showroom in these circumstances…

“Ah-ha!” some may say. “But despite all this, isn’t a new car bound to be more reliable than any vehicle with miles already on the clock?” Actually, the answer is often “No, not at all” – as many owners of factory-fresh models will probably agree.

The fact is, a lot of new cars arrive with built-in niggles which can mean repeated returns to the garage in the first couple of years. The manufacturers call it “snagging” – but owners may well have another less polite description after their umpteenth return visit to try and discover why third gear makes that peculiar whining sound.

Almost invariably, all these minor irritations will have been ironed out on a car over a year or so old.

But what about more scary component failures like the transmission or clutch? Well, perhaps a few decades ago these might have been a genuine cause for concern, but in the intensely competitive motor market of today, makers can’t afford to have their reputations tarnished by poor reliability, even after the car has travelled tens of thousands of miles.

Higher manufacturing standards and computerised engine management systems mean that major components last longer, and any possible problems can be picked up and remedied before disaster strikes. If by any chance there was an engineering fault somewhere on the vehicle, the likelihood these days is that it will be made apparent by the computer early in the car’s life. Once again, that headache is likely to fall on the original owner, not the car’s subsequent buyer.

Having said that, it is of course comforting to know that someone else will pick up the tab if anything does go wrong – and that is what warranties are for. Believe it or not, some warranties available today to protect a pre-used car are just as comprehensive as the original supplied by the manufacturer. Warranty supply has also become a fiercely fought-over market which has resulted in many excellent deals becoming available to consumers.

As always car safety is paramount

Safety is something which nobody wants to do a deal with or to make compromises on. However, the good news is that buying second-hand is generally not going to mean getting second best levels of protection. The drive by manufacturers to make their cars safer has been in top gear for some time now, and the safety features on new cars have not changed radically over the past few years.

You might now be wondering why there are any new cars at all to be seen on the roads today, and it’s certainly a fact that ACF Car Finance – which deals exclusively in used cars – sees its customer numbers growing.

But don’t worry: there will still be plenty of second-hand cars coming on-stream in the years ahead. Increasingly though, I suspect, their original owners will be fleet-buyers from companies which can negotiate hefty discounts from dealers, and who find it simpler to manage their vehicles by arranging one-stop finance, servicing and buy-back packages.

For the rest of us, buying second-hand has never looked like a more sensible and economical proposition than it does today. Less outlay, more car, better peace of mind. What’s not to like?

Of course, I didn’t have the heart to explain all this to Jill who, in any case, was now busy crossing off all the unnecessary luxuries on her shopping list. And who knows: in a few years, I might just be in the market for a silver Ford Fiesta with only one lady owner. And I’m sure the price will suit me down to the ground!

About ACF Car Finance Limited
ACF Car Finance Limited is Britain’s leading supplier of high-quality used cars to people whose credit status might otherwise prevent them from obtaining vehicle finance. There is a huge choice of makes and models on display at its regional showrooms – and each car comes with the benefit of a full 136-point vehicle quality inspection and interior/exterior valet.

ACF Car Finance has recently received a platinum award from the Institute of Fundraising for charitable donations made through its staff payroll scheme. ACF is committed to the highest standards of customer care and friendly, professional advice as provided by members of its fully-trained team.

Women are gender spenders for car finance

Most of us know that women are THE gender spenders who influence c80% of  all household purchases and are described as ‘instigators-in-chief’ when it comes to c60% of car sales (and presumably their garage care afterwards). We’re professional shoppers, we do our homework in advance, we know what we want and we’re not afraid of going somewhere else if we don’t get it.

But when it comes to comparing male and female shopping behaviour we know that men can do the job in hand quicker 😉 whereas we want to compare and contrast value and features before making our (better) informed decision. Take shopping for a pair of trousers for example. Casual or formal. He is more likely to buy the same style and the same colour as the last time and from the same shop before retiring to the pub for a liquid reward; happy because the job has been done efficiently and as painlessly as possible…

Whereas she might spend ages looking at what everybody else is wearing, comparing this season’s colour choices and then shopping online and on the High Street for the best deal… This has been known to take weeks in our household ;).

But it’s very important to take your time when it’s a big ticket item like a car or financing the deal for that matter. I’m sure we can all remember unhappy purchases we made in a hurry or when we’ve been seduced by a low price, only to experience the steep learning curve borne out of realising we’ve bought a lemon, wasted money and that we should have bought a different brand or product…

A recent survey from BMW Financial Services has been looking at men and women’s attitudes towards financing a car which reflect precisely these differences in our gender genes. Whilst the economy is struggling it seems that more of us are turning to dealer finance to fund the purchase of our dream cars than was the case in 2010.

This is probably because the car finance market is very competitive today and it’s so much more convenient to sort out the finance transaction alongside their new car and any part exchange paperwork.

According to BMW’s research, many males admitted rushing into an ill-judged car finance decision within just two hours whereas one third of women drivers take at least two days to make the choice. That’s the foxy way…

But apparently some consumers gave about as much thought to purchasing a car as they did to purchasing a sofa; not thinking through the implications of a longer finance deal for the more expensive vehicle transaction. Very costly I imagine.

BMW’s survey also confirmed that women are prepared to compromise when it comes to making joint decisions about which car or car finance package to buy whereas men prefer to choose entirely independently. Or put another way (assuming a gsoh)…
He thinks “This is motoring – this is a MAN’s department.”
She thinks “Oh for an easy life – let him think this is his decision but I’ll make sure he makes the right choice…”

This is in stark contrast to shopping for a new kitchen apparently which is more likely to be a joint decision. Or put another way (assuming the same gsoh)…
He thinks “ With a bit of luck she’ll be spending more time in it (cooking for me) than me so she really should have one she’s happy in (cooking for me…).
She thinks “If I am expected to do more cooking, washing, ironing and cleaning in the kitchen (than him) the least I expect is one that suits me best.”

Certainly attitudes to car ownership seem to have changed with women in particular spotting that buying a new or used car using car finance carries a number of advantages.

In fact Joe Pattinson at BMW Financial Services has detected a growing trend for women to sign up to ‘rent to own’ finance deals as he explains…
“Finance is the car purchasing model for women in future and we see this as a long term purchasing trend that is here to stay. A quarter of women (surveyed) say they are cutting back on all spending and changing their lifestyle considerably, and as these attitudes are applied to the concept of car ownership, (staggered car) finance will become the norm in the not too distant future.”

Joe continues: “Sadly many drivers are making greater compromises on the make, model and specification of their vehicle than they need to.”

Women need to know their foxy car finance choices perhaps?