We are constantly reading that car sales are on the floor and both manufacturers and dealers are desperate to shift some of the metal and so it is a complete buyers' market; and indeed if you visit any major port you are likely to see fields full of cars that have been imported, or are waiting to be exported, and lots of them never seem to move from one month to the next. It is hardly surprising that many bargains are on offer, but a buyer has to be very careful about just what it is that he or she is buying!
Let us consider the vehicle which, although unregistered, could already be a year old or even more and which has spent its life ever since it was manufactured sat in a field; that car will have deteriorated considerably. Not only will rust have started to take a hold on bodywork, brake pipes etc, but rubber and plastic will have started to deteriorate in the sunlight, the paint may be starting to bloom, and not least of all the oil in the vehicle may have drained away into the sump from the wearing surfaces; when the vehicle first starts up, instead of the surfaces being separated by a lubricant there could be metal to metal contacts within the engine, and if it is a diesel engine the fuel injectors could well spit metal fragments into the cylinders which will do them no good whatsoever! That new car may not be so perfect after all.
Leaving this caveat to one side there are a lots of bargains to be had amongst the more popular mass produced cars but if you wanted to buy, say, a Jaguar, Mercedes or Bentley you would probably find that there are no discounts available whatsoever! This is because cars of this type are usually produced to order, rather than being mass produced for a mass market.
A good time to buy a car may be just after the car company has gone out of business! When Rover went down the pan recently a lot of first-class cars were sold off at very reasonable prices but fortunately there were large stocks of spare parts already in the hands of stockists. If you decide to buy a vehicle manufactured by a company which is going under or has already gone broke, bear in mind that not only will the warranty probably be worthless, but you may discover in the not too distant future that a minor breakdown becomes a major problem when you find that spare parts are not available.
The common image of a used car salesman is of a completely unprincipled spiv who would rip off his own grandmother if he got half a chance! Let us not kid ourselves, such people do still exist, particularly at the lower end of the market, which is why it is often better to go to a large and reputable business to buy your car; it is a very major item of expenditure for most people and the more well-known the company you buy it from, the less chance that you will have problems in the future.