In a period of huge uncertainty, be it Brexit or Budget, one other factor next year will be the ‘2020 effect’ in its many guises.
Lots of people, especially since late spring, decided to hold off in 2019 and get into a new-decade reg come January next, all things being equal.
Only all things are not shaping up like they will be equal at all.
Exactly how many, or how few, will buy a new car in particular rests on so many elements – with the outcomes of Budget and Brexit certain to impact most heavily.
For those who are thinking of buying, it could be the most important purchase of their time owning a vehicle.
There is so much more to it than the simple fact that your registration is getting you into a new decade.
This time around it puts you in the time-frame for a period that heralds the most profound changes in motoring since the car became a universally used mode of private transport.
For many it could well be – indeed most likely will be – their last purchase of a car powered solely by an internal combustion engine (ICE).
That prospect is strengthened by continued Government insistence, despite widespread scepticism to the contrary, that we will have close to a million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
Regardless of scale, in practise that means use, and purchase, of petrols and diesels will be ‘discouraged’ for a sustained period.
So we can realistically expect that three to four years down the road – by the time your 2020-reg would traditionally be ready to be traded in – the switch to electric should have gained a lot of momentum.
Hence why your 2020 purchase becomes all the more important.
Buying next year, you should not just focus on the fact a new car, for instance, is a 20-reg but also try to assess how its residual value will hold up over the subsequent 36 to 48 months.
It is a daunting will-I-won’t-I? challenge for ordinary people spending hard-earned money and/or borrowings to get into as safe, and clean, a car as economically possible.
The brutal fact is that, in the case of a new buy, we can’t pick and choose an electric-car alternative yet.
Maybe by 2023/4.
But there aren’t enough now.
It just isn’t possible yet in many, many cases to substitute an EV.
That is especially true for those who see little choice but to buy a diesel again.
They need it; simple as that.
What else can they turn to?
That’s where you need to take proactive action.
One of the best things you could do at this point is talk to a few dealerships to assess, as best you can, where you will stand in three years’ time if you buy a new diesel or petrol – or indeed any car – next year.
What advice can they offer you specifically?
If you are doing a PCP deal you will get a good idea of what minimum value will attach to the car you are thinking of taking for three years.
But with or without a PCP it is important to talk to those in the business and plan.
As of now you can talk and think about it; final planning is another matter, however.
You will, like us all, have to wait to see what the Budget brings in particular.
It could be that you will join many in sitting tight or minimising expenditure by buying a used import.
Does that make sense for you?
Ask yourself the question: What will you get for an old, old diesel in three years’ time?
How much less than for a newer one?
Will there be a scrappage scheme to mop up dirtier models?
So many questions.
Hopefully we’ll get the answers soon but you can see why your next move, whether you buy new or used, is such an important one.
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