Tag Archives: used cars

Summer convertible offers for women drivers

Motorpoint DSIt’s unusual to get discounts on summer cars in the summer so we were surprised to read that FOXY Lady Approved Motorpoint is offering savings of over 50% off list price on some of the most popular new and nearly new convertible models across its eight sites around the country.

In Birmingham, Burnley, Chingford, Derby, Glasgow, Newport, Peterborough & Widnes

These include the classy Citroen DS3 1.6 THP DSport Plus [with Metallic Paint] for £10,999 – a saving of £11,791 off list price.

The unashamedly retro Fiat 500 1.2 Lounge [with Metallic Paint] for £9,999 – a saving of £5,445 off list price.

The fun-filled Mini One 1.6 [with Metallic Paint] for £12,599 – a saving of £4,141 off list price.

The executive Audi A3 2.0 TDI Sport, with delivery miles AND a saving of £4,321 off list price.

Mark Carpenter, Managing Director of Motorpoint, said:

“We have always had a great love affair with the convertible and this year shows no sign of being any different based on current demand. Plus, with savings off list price of almost £12,000 in some cases, the great news is that driving with the top down has never been more affordable.”

Please pass this on to anyone who is car shopping for a convertible here.


Stars among the best used cars

car-keys-dealer-handoverEvery year something like seven million used cars change owners via car showrooms compared to a mere 2.5 million-ish new car sales. That’s a lot!

And with high complaint levels, it’s important to know the ‘best’ used cars to buy, to avoid the many lemons out there.

So where better to look than the What Car Used Car of the Year 2014 Awards at The Hurlingham Club recently, attended by all major vehicle manufacturers, naming their 13 outstanding category winners.

WhatCar works with the Trusted Dealers network who sign up to certain standards to give used car buyers peace of mind. NB: This is one of our minimum standards at our new FOXY Lady Approved used car network.

This year’s overall winner is the Ford Focus 1.6 105 Zetec which we rate highly.

Others include the Hyundai 1.2 Comfort (city car), Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec (smaller than the Focus) and the Lexus IS220d SE (executive car). The Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport scooped the fun car award (no surprises there) and the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi VTR+ was voted the best MPV (again, spot on).

What Car? Used Car of the Year Awards 2014 category winners

Overall winner – Ford Focus 1.6 105 Zetec 5dr ’11/11
City car – Hyundai i10 1.2 Comfort ’10/10
Coupé – Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI 160 ’09/09
Estate car – Ford Mondeo Estate 2.0 TDCi 140 Zetec ’10/10
Executive car – Lexus IS220d SE ’10/10
Family car – Ford Focus 1.6 105 Zetec 5dr ’11/11
Fun car – Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport ’09/09
Large SUV – Volvo XC90 2.4 D5 SE Lux ’10/60
Luxury car – Jaguar XJ 3.0D V6 Luxury ’11/11
MPV – Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi VTR+ ’10/10
Open-top car – BMW 3 Series Convertible 320d SE ’09/09
Small car – Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec 5dr ’09/09
Small SUV – Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta ’10/10

Always a tough choice, by all means tell us if you think there’s a make or a model missing here…

NB: No Toyota, Honda, Vauxhall, Audi or Mercedes-Benz?

And if you’d like to know which cars other women rate, here are FOXY’s car reviews written by and for women drivers.

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.

Testing Tesco Times

On behalf of women drivers I welcome Tesco’s entry into the car sales market because they cannot afford to get this wrong  and they know what we want. This gives them a distinct edge over many dealerships.

But if Tesco does get it wrong they will pay the price. Let’s not forget, this is the much complained about motor industry where used car quality can be a hit and miss affair and customer service is all too often an oxymoron.

To perform to Tesco standards, we can expect a tight contract to cover industry ethics as well as customer service, sales performance and commission levels. They want to sell Tesco car insurance and finance products too. So all cars must be HPI checked (easy) and inspected (RAC, sounds trustworthy) and costed competitively. All this needs to be 100% watertight because their stock of used cars includes fleet cars, ex rentals and Motability car returns which may or may not have been well cared for during their pre MOT years.

Fortunately they are leaving a big gap in the market by not offering a part exchange service; providing those that fill it don’t do what webuyanycar.com did by quoting a price online and then dropping this significantly when they came to collect the car.

And it’s relevant that Tesco’s cars are in Birmingham which means that you can’t always ‘see before you buy.’

The good news is that this is surely the time for car dealers to up their game with women in mind; it’s us that influence c80% of all car buying decisions and local dealers have the advantage here of being local and knowing cars.

My point is that because Tesco is a female friendly brand, I’d expect more dealership groups to think long and hard about their ‘marketing to women’ strategy.

Wake up guys. Selling cars isn’t the only way to sell cars…

Sell her female friendly garage services for starters, know what she wants, spoil her, prove she can trust you and she’ll look to you for advice when she’s next car shopping.

Why is this so hard for so many male dominated and car-sales-oriented franchised dealerships to understand?


Women wanting independent advice and support services when buying a new car can join FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

A motor industry makeover resolution

It’s New Years Day and a time when our thoughts are supposed to turn to resolutions for the year ahead.

And mine has landed on the ‘imperfect but with many good bits’ motor industry that I believe can be helped towards a brighter future with a thorough makeover… for those that deserve to succeed that is.

For example, let’s say a management consultant is called in to review a struggling business’s performance and recommends that the culture of that organisation needs to be changed. You’d start at the top wouldn’t you? You’d decide where you want to be, look at the way forward, some heads would roll and chances are the consultant would be employed to facilitate the journey. Sounds familiar anyone?

Now let’s see how a struggling industry like the UK motor industry would attempt to do this.  Needless to say I am not being paid to do that consultancy job and it wouldn’t be a quick job if I was, but I am happy to start off the ‘Where We Are At’ bit at least and would welcome contributions from those better qualified in the industry…

1    In 2010 the industry is in the doldrums with some notable pockets of exceptions, such as car parts for DIYers…

2    Fewer new cars are being sold; private motorists make do and even the rich realise that it isn’t good for their image to be seen driving flashy cars when others are really struggling.

3    Manufacturers have to plan ahead so they can’t be as flexible as they’d like – their stocks and lines for 2011 were decided ages ago. So they compete for perceived unique selling points or price advantage – some bravely attempting to repositioning their brands up or down market. The electric bandwagon rolls forward quietly 😉 with the all-knowing Chinese on the brink of entering the volume market but for a few known quality issues to resolve…

4    Fleets are now contracting cars for 4 years not 3 wanting low running costs throughout.

5    Those that want a nearly new car are finding them few and far between as a consequence of recent new car supplies.

6    Because they don’t have to, cash strapped motorists are postponing garage servicing so their cars aren’t as safe as they should be and garages without a location or brand advantage are struggling to be seen as good or different.

7    Even worse, cars aren’t being maintained well, especially the new ones otherwise why would so many fail their first MOT?

8    Just as worrying, motorists who don’t know any better choose

  • the cheapest used car not realising the salesman knows why it’s cheap
  • DIY repairs to save money but might not buy the best parts
  • garages that follow a basic motor industry code and/or are good garage scheme members not realising that neither scheme requires them to employ qualified/trained or accredited mechanics
  • MOT and car servicing deals from businesses they don’t know, running the gauntlet of rip off dealers, shoddy workmanship and unscrupulous dealers.

9    Complaints are seen as the norm and caveat emptor still applies in many areas. In 2010 a Which? undercover mystery garage shopping reports that nearly 90% of sampled garages (including dealerships) missed or ignored at least one potentially dangerous fault on the cars that had been doctored in advance. Much the same as in 2007’s survey by the way. And the relentless pace of used cars and garage complaints keeps the Office of Fair Trade’s (OFT) Consumer Direct staff employed having seemingly backed away from the recent Super Complaint opportunity that might have led to regulation and quality control.

10   Shoppers are using the internet to save time and money but also to avoid stressful garage and dealership visits – including many women who account for some 50% of customers and seem to be the least happy with the male dominated  ‘too blokey’ culture that doesn’t seem to understand their different shopping needs and demands…

Got the picture?   So where does the motor industry want to be in future – from 2011 onwards?

Here’s my contribution but as I am not being paid for this ;-), I’ll be brief.

The UK motor industry needs a better image, more ambitious quality standards, a more ethical regard for the safety of motorists and more female recruits because women matter and need a voice.

This all demonstrates the need for joined up motor industry thinking in all these areas with higher level, better, specialist and totally independent public communications for all motorists. This needs to include unbiased, whole picture and down to earth information and advice about cars, garage services, insurance and finance products so better shopping choices can be made.

A good example of unhelpful in-fighting in the industry is the looming ‘Trust My Garage’ launch in 2011.  Looking at this from the motorists perspective (which a trade body is not best placed to do), like it or not, we already have the still fairly new Motor Industry Service and Repair Code and the imaginatively titled Good Garage Scheme so what good will a third one be, run by another trade body and reserved for their members, when none of the three equate to or promote qualified or accredited staff.

Which is what FOXY Choice does, by the way, and why an independent organisation like FOXY will always be a more trustworthy arbiter than one funded by interested parties.

What the UK motor industry needs to do instead is

  • explain this and a lot more to the motorist who deserves this knowledge
  • identify the genuinely better than the rest schemes and
  • empower her/him to make the right buying decisions based on quality, value for money and informed feedback. Yes feedback is important in many instances but when I am told a garage is friendly based on their sunny receptionist, how do I know that their mechanic isn’t selling me new tyres/brakes/engine flush washes I don’t need for pecuniary advantage? Or not even doing the job I’ve paid for?

Happy New Year to all the good businesses we work with and may 2011 be the year for positive thinking and debate; so you get your just rewards without being confused with second-rate others.