Thursday, February 5, 2009

Price comparison: Honda main dealer vs. Supermarkets

2006 55 Reg Honda Civic 2.2 i-CTDi Sport with 35,537 miles, for £8,499.
Whereas the best deal we could find on Honda’s website was this:
2006 06 Civic Sport 2.2 i-CTDi Sport, with 29,890 miles, for £ 9,995

Most people think main dealers are expensive. But, in the current market you have to look at every car on a case-by-case basis.

Most people only shop for cars to test drive on a classified website of cars for sale. This leads them to first of all find the kind of cars they are interested in.

As an example, we have been looking for a two and half to three year old Honda Civic diesel (i-CTDi ) in Sport trim.

Then, because of the nature of classified website listings most people start to compare price and mileage. The car with the lowest combination of both is often assumed to be the best value car – because it is the cheapest.

Used Car Expert set out to see if that’s true…
So first stop, of course, was the Used Car Expert price guide, which revealed that average mileage is about 25,000, that a fair price is £10,500, the low price is £10,992 and the best price we can expect is £8,911.

Looking on the major classified websites, within a 60 mile radius of home, we were instantly struck by this little beauty from one of the big supermarkets:

So what's the catch? That's a £1,496 saving for two cars that look pretty much the same.

Well there are potentially 3 catches with this car:

1. The mileage
The cheaper car has 5,500 miles more on the clock and is a thumping 10,000 miles above average for diesel Honda Civics.

2. The service and repair costs
The service interval for the 2.2 diesel Civic is every 12,500 miles or every year, whichever is the sooner.

So both cars should have their first two services and will need another one at some point in the coming year.

The main dealer car has a complete service history, and is prepared to Honda’s used approved programme, which should mean it will be 12 months until you have to pay for a service. At £247 for a service, this is good news.

With the cheaper car, that bill could be just a couple of months away.

Plus, the cheaper car will be at the end of its manufacturer warranty. The dealer selling the cheaper car will offer you a warranty, which is from the AA, but it will cost at least another £250. Whereas the main dealer car comes with extended 12 months warranty included in the price.

3. The preparation, especially the recalls
As you can see in our ‘behind the scenes’ features, a used approved Honda is prepared to ‘as new’ standard; having every imperfection repaired.

If the cheaper car has any interior damage or a couple of body work dents (such as trolley dents in the doors) then each one will cost at least £50 to put right and bring the car up to the equivalent standard of the main dealer car.

The car will also be serviced (if required) so that breakdown is less likely and you will get roadside assistance worth another £100.

Then there are the safety recalls…

Some Honda Civics built between 13/09/2005 and 12/10/2007 are subject to a recall, where the car will have its handbrake assembly replaced for free. This is because it has been identified that if the handbrake is applied with the release button depressed, there is a small risk that the handbrake may not latch sufficiently to hold the vehicle securely on a slope.

Any car sold by a main dealer will have had all such recalls completed. Cars bought from independents may not.*

The main dealer car is not £1,496 more expensive than the supermarket car.

If you take the servicing savings, warranty, roadside cover and bodywork repairs into account, it is less than £899.

For a car that has done 5,000 miles less, is less likely to break down, has had its safety recalls, won’t cost a penny in repairs for the year ahead (there is a full manufacturer backed warranty), I think, even though it is more money, in the long-run, it’s the better value deal.

2006 55 Reg Honda Civic 2.2 i-CTDi Sport with 35,537 miles, for £8,499.

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