Five reasons now is a good time to buy a new car - and five reasons it's not
These are interesting, pivotal days for buyers and sellers of new cars.
We're coming exceedingly close to the end of the critical first quarter, and it goes without saying there is a serious scramble for market share by all marques.
That is translating into some aggressive sales pitches, new deals, scrappage offers, special trade-in deals - you name it, there is a promotion of some kind going on out there.
Distributors and dealers are giving it a go to get as much business as possible to wrap up the first three months. Three months that have, in all honesty, been tough going for many outlets as sales have levelled off and fallen in many cases. It is not what was expected but Brexit has turned many forecasts on their heads.
The question for you, however, is whether you should spend/borrow your money over the next while or hold on until July when the new 172-registration period begins.
As ever there are myriad pros and cons. It is not a cop-out to say every case has its own merits and we should all do our own sums and see where the figures fall.
But here are five reasons For and five Against that might - just might - be of help in shaping your thinking.
1. As I've said, there are some highly attractive looking deals out there at this point. Knowing how critical a juncture it is for so many on the selling side means you can probably get a few extra euro knocked off even already 'lowered' prices.
Put it this way, as a buyer you are in a strong position.
Just remember, though, that dealers have to make a few euro too, so don't overdo the hard bargaining. Just be aware you are in a buyers' market.
2. You will still have, depending on how you view it, three or nine months in a 17-reg car. As well as that, prices of new cars could rise by July - thereby increasing your cost of change. Buying now might make sense in your case.
3. Used-car prices are coming down due to the high level of used imports from the UK.
That means your trade-in, presuming you have one, is likely to be worth a bit less by July.
If that is the case, and even allowing that the new car you are after remains at the same price, then your Cost of Change is going to increase on that front as well.
4. A lot of new cars have come on the market over the past few weeks.
Many are new but quite a few are upgrades on existing models - and they can represent a better package than what was available earlier in the year if you happened to be shopping around then.
5. One of the reasons people give me for buying at this time of year is that the best of the new cars are usually on the forecourts by March and, on that basis, they don't want to disrupt their summer holidays by waiting until July. So if you are planning a couple of weeks away at that stage, you might find it easier all round to have your new car sorted. Different folks, different strokes.
1. There will be deals for July too. Indeed, given the current flat state of the market, there could be even better ones than currently apply.
Some insiders are already predicting it will be a short, hot summer for sales.
2. You are, taking the pessimistic view, only going to have a 'new' car for two/three months until 172 relegates 171 in the summer. I do not think there is much evidence this is in any way hitting early-year valuations. But you get a six-month clear run as 'new' with a 172.
3. There will be even more new-car choice by July judging by what we're told is coming down the line from a range of manufacturers.
And while prices might rise a bit, there is little doubt you will be getting a lot more car and a lot more spec for your money.
4. Some observers expect used-car values to level off over the next few months as supply and demand level up and the growth of imports slows a bit. I wouldn't bet on it but if that is the case then your cost of change may not go up so much between now and July.
5. If you're not going on holidays until later in July or later this year - or have already been - then it's a nice time to do your new-car shopping.
Many people have told me they would never buy in January or February again - because of the dark evenings and cold, miserable weather.
It is an individual decision but one you should take some time over because there could be a tidy sum at stake if you make the right decision - for you.
Shopping around now, or next month even, will make things a lot clearer, not least in that it will allow you to ask and gauge what the Cost of Change will be for 171 and for 172.
That should put you in a clear position of strength to make the best decision for you.