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Is buying a new car becoming the same as buying a toaster?


JoeNorton
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Bit of a theme emerged this morning on FB and I thought I'd translate it to the forum:

"Life was so much more interesting back then (the 1980s). Now the choice is basically a silver BMW with a grey interior, a silver Mercedes with a grey interior, a silver Audi with a grey interior, a silver Vauxhall with a grey interior, or a silver VW with a grey interior"
- Alan Wesson, Fan of 1980s Cars

What are your thoughts on the state of the new car market?

More choice than ever or no different to choosing a toaster from Argos?

 

10408d1411032646-buying-new-car-becoming

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I was talking to a VW finance guy in the local dealership.

 

He advised that 80% of buyers use VW finance and usually as you can imagine just trade in their previous car.

 

He further advised they look at a few cars and buy the one that costs then the least per month around their pain point.

 

They also mostly buy the 3 year service pack so it is all rolled up in one monthly payment.

 

In the majority of cases the colour can play a large part in the decision making process.

 

Therefore yes it's a bit of an Argos decision making process.

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I don't agree with the previous unless you have no interest in cars. We are looking at changing our 2 year old Mercedes B Class Sport next May so have started ruling out cars now based on practical requirements , ie 2 little kids and a dog. Next we will look at what they drive like , then specification within our budget and last thing is colour. An uninterested buyer quite often spending someone else's money (allowance) will end up in a silver / grey box.....but not us!

 

I also own a 2013 Fiat Panda Trekking ...not everyone's choice but a fantastic little commuter that returns 68 mpg and can go almost anywhere.

Mike

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  • 6 months later...

 

What are your thoughts on the state of the new car market?

 

More choice than ever or no different to choosing a toaster from Argos?

 

I was looking for a first car for my daughter recently and had a look at the Toyota Aygo plus Citroen / Peugeot versions; I have started to notice after many years of driving the same two cars - Volvo V70 T5 Estate and Landrover Discovery TD5 and so letting other cars’ evolutions and development pass me by -  that a lot of new cars are essentially only the same rebadged model. A bit like the old Wolseley / Riley / Triumph / Austin / Morris days… things may not have moved on THAT far!

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I was looking for a first car for my daughter recently and had a look at the Toyota Aygo plus Citroen / Peugeot versions; I have started to notice after many years of driving the same two cars - Volvo V70 T5 Estate and Landrover Discovery TD5 and so letting other cars’ evolutions and development pass me by -  that a lot of new cars are essentially only the same rebadged model. A bit like the old Wolseley / Riley / Triumph / Austin / Morris days… things may not have moved on THAT far!

 

I think that like most things, the economy has a lot to do with it. Many years ago I worked for a company that supplied cabinets (the kind that house PLC controllers etc) and we supplied a lot of them into the vauxhall plant in Luton. At the time, I read that the cost of developing a new car was in the region of 500 million. That's spread across development costs, testing, manufacture of new tooling etc (its a pretty endless list). 

 

Considering that only a handful of companies own most brands, you can expect that costs need to be reduced and so components, tooling and even designs are shared, and the result is a bunch of very similar cars. Remember when you got into an Aston Martin and the cockpit was covered in the same switches you got in a Mondeo. Or you took the body off your Saab 93 and there was a vectra sitting underneath it.

 

The result is only so many new shapes and styles...

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We have a citroen c4 picasso. A rather unremarkable car that fills our needs. However when you consider that the chassis is used on 5 or six different cits. C5. C3. C4. Ds4 etc And the same amount of peugeots , i am more impressed. Reduced costs and development and therefore running costs and spares sharing. All good.

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on the other hand...last time I was in Argos to buy a toaster there were hundreds to choose from!!

 

white, silver, black, 2 slot, 3 slot, 4 slot, digital displays, bun warmers, racks, keep warm..defrost setting!!!..it was a minefield!! ha ha

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It is certainly becoming a sea of uniformity out there, in which one car looks much the same as another, with few exceptions.  As a kid I could identify most cars on the road, and makers all had their own "look". Today they are so boringly alike that I frankly could not be bothered. That said, the average modern is safe, durable, reliable and offers levels of performance that would have been unthinkable in the 60s. Our two "moderns" do at least have some individual character - a 2006 Ford Ka, which is a great little commuter and actually quite fun to throw around, and our 1998 Volvo 940 Estate, which may look like a hearse but is for me, the last of the real Volvos before Ford came in and wrecked the brand values. At least I don't lose either of them in car parks!

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on the other hand...last time I was in Argos to buy a toaster there were hundreds to choose from!!

 

white, silver, black, 2 slot, 3 slot, 4 slot, digital displays, bun warmers, racks, keep warm..defrost setting!!!..it was a minefield!! ha ha

Last time in Curry’s when I went to pay for a toaster the girl behind the till informed me they were 'three for two’… I could only ask why on earth anyone would want three toasters...

(To be fair it was across the whole brand and included kettles, electric frying pans and electric irons… but the look she gave me was priceless)

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