Some buyers consider it to be the only course of action and return to their car dealership every time they want a new model while others consider that there are better deals to be had elsewhere. The question that needs answering is should you visit a car dealership when looking for your next car?
The current market
According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders more than 2.2 million cars were sold in the UK during the course of 2013 and this represented a 10% rise in sales figures from the previous year.
This demonstrates that car dealerships are enjoying an upturn in their fortunes and the general consensus is that sales are being driven by attractive finance packages being offered through them, although when it comes to attractive finance offers the recent news that Clydesdale Bank had just lowered its personal finance rate to a historically low 4.7% APR, shows that there are plenty of competitive deals available for buyers willing to shop around.
Change in shopping habits
There is little doubt that since the introduction of the internet our shopping habits have changed and this statement is just as applicable to how many of us now go about buying a car. The old way of visiting your local car showroom is still preferred by some but many more people these days will look up not just the model details and reviews of cars that they are interested in but they will also seek to find who is offering the best price and then use that information to try and negotiate a better deal.
What dealers can offer
You should often find that your local dealership has knowledgeable staff who can tell you want you want to know about the model you are interested in and a dealership can also offer the security of the car manufacturers warranty when you are buying a new or nearly-new model.
You will also be able to get a part-exchange offer on your old car which is more convenient than trying to sell it privately yourself although you may not always be offered the amount that you were hoping for and sometimes the amount they offer you is determined by the value of the car you are looking to buy and what their profit margin is likely to be.
A dealer can offer you a choice of specification and colour and if you are prepared to wait then you will often be able to get exactly the right car that you want with all your chosen extras and options, which is not something you always get when buying privately and maybe having to compromise and take what is available.
It is generally perceived by the buying public that the prices in the dealership showroom may well be higher than you can get the car for elsewhere but you should remember to factor in the level of service you receive and the warranty backup as having some sort of value.
Buying your car on finance is often the way to go and you should certainly shop around to see if you might get a better deal elsewhere rather than simply accept the finance deal being offered in the showroom, especially when you see how low some of the personal finance rates are at the moment.
The decision whether to buy your car through a dealership or not comes down to personal preferences and convenience but one thing is for sure when you look at the sales figures, a lot of us are planning on buying a car in 2014.
Jamie Benson is a passionate personal finance counselor. Her writing often helps people with making wise purchase decisions from cars to homes.