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The battle for your money seems to intensify each week now as brands try to find new ways of getting you into their cars – for January and beyond.

Last week it was Volkswagen unveiling a detailed scrappage scheme.

This week it is Nissan with a ‘Subscribe and Drive’ deal and Toyota with Hybrid Advantage events and incentives.

Next week? There will surely be more to add to the dozens already up and running – from scrappage schemes, lower PCP rates to special HP and finance packages.

Remember though, the only thing that should matter for you is how much a deal really costs in hard euro.

The advice, as always, is to take a lot of time to understand what any given proposition really entails.

I know of people who got a shock when they discovered they were well short of a deposit for a new PCP deal after incorrectly assuming the guaranteed future market value of the car was enough to see them through.

The future market value is not your money. A bit of it might be if the market is prepared to pay more than the guaranteed minimum in your PCP plan.

The difference between guaranteed minimum and real-world value is the equity (or non-equity) that goes towards your next deposit. In many cases people have had to find a few thousand euro extra to bridge the gap.

These few words are not designed to reflect negatively on deals but to ensure you gain maximum benefit from them – after thinking them through.

Nissan claims its new monthly subscription service will allow motorists to have a new car from €356 a month – without having to worry about a deposit.

You can cash in on your current car’s residual value as part of the new subscription model. It says it would suit someone who wants to get whatever equity is in their current car and pick up a new one without paying a deposit.

Under the deal, you drive the car for an agreed term and hand it back when finished, without obligation.

It expects to roll out a number of subscription-style products over the coming months.

Regardless of brand or offer, it is always a good idea to check if the repayment/subscription/scrappage payments are based on the quoted price of the new car or is it possible to first negotiate a discount as is often the case with more conventional purchasing arrangements?

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