Wise buys

The Advertiser - Motoring - - COVER STORY - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER

BUY­ING the right new car can save you thou­sands of dol­lars.

With de­pre­ci­a­tion tear­ing the largest chunk out of any mo­tor­ing bud­get, eas­ily beat­ing the costs of fuel or ser­vic­ing or in­sur­ance, it pays to go with a bank­able brand on the used-car mar­ket.

It’s all about choos­ing a car that will hold its value.

The clock starts tick­ing the in­stant you leave the deal­er­ship.

Santo Amod­dio, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of in­dus­try bible Glass’s Deal­ers Guide, says de­pre­ci­a­tion can rip more than a third from the sec­ond-hand price in less than a day.

“It’s safe to say they lose about a quar­ter of their value. That’s go­ing from a new price to a trade-in price,” he says.

“If you’re talk­ing a base­model Fal­con or Com­modore, like a fleet car, it’s a lot higher at around 35 per cent.”

The right badge is the first step to suc­cess. If you can’t af­ford a lux­ury brand, pick a Mazda, Subaru or Toy­ota — you may pay ex­tra but you will reap the re­wards in the long run. Re­cent prod­uct im­prove­ments, as well as a fiveyear back-up pro­gram, is also help­ing Hyundai.

As for types of cars, the mod­els that per­form the best ei­ther have rock-solid rep­u­ta­tions or of­fer some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from the gar­den-va­ri­ety hatch.

Some of the strong­est per­form­ers are hum­ble one­tonne utes, while sports cars and coupes also do well come trade-in time.

There has been a gen­eral down­turn in re­sale prices over re­cent years but Amod­dio says it is easy to see why the sec­ond­hand win­ners are do­ing such a good job for their own­ers.

“Toy­ota has a really strong used-car pro­gram. Mazda has the right prod­ucts for this mar­ket at the mo­ment, and cars that are de­sir­able when they are new are also de­sir­able as sec­ond-hand cars,” he says.

“Subaru had a rough patch a couple of years ago but they have lifted their game. The Forester, for ex­am­ple, is very strong on used-car val­ues. That’s partly be­cause a lot are re­tained by their orig­i­nal own­ers and passed down through the fam­ily.”

He also high­lights the per­for­mance of pres­tige brands in­clud­ing BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Range Rover. Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles is a bank­able brand be­cause of its unique ap­peal.

Glass’s rates the Honda Jazz as the sec­ond-hand bar­gain in the light-car class, with a 67 per cent resid­ual rate af­ter three years. Fac­tor in the low pur­chase price and it’s the car that will cost you the least in three years of own­er­ship.

The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is best among small cars at 62 per cent, the Audi Q3 tops small SUVs at 57 per cent, the Range Rover Evoque wins among medium SUVs at 73 per cent and the hulk­ing Toy­ota LandCruiser is the win­ner at the top of the SUV bat­tle at 73 per cent.

Amod­dio says that apart from choos­ing the right car, the right op­tions can make a big dif­fer­ence at trade-in time.

“Blue­tooth, USB ports, sat­nav, ESP, rear-view cam­era and lots of airbags are now widely avail­able in af­ford­able new cars. That’s what peo­ple are look­ing for and the re­sult has been a steady and grad­ual de­cline in used-car val­ues.

“Over the next couple of years that will nat­u­rally in­crease. If a car has those sorts of things in it then it’s very de­sir­able as a sec­ond-hand car.”

But he also warns about wor­ry­ing too much about prices, ei­ther buy­ing or sell­ing.

“The thing to al­ways

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