There are bargains, but make sure you do your sums
I was most impressed with Ford coming out with a seven-year warranty offer last week. It should shake things up nicely.
Mitsubishi's eight-year offering and Kia's seven-year one have led the field up to now, while at home we have been lured in the past by Hyundai's triple offering of a five-year warranty, free servicing and breakdown cover for returning owners.
Ford's move, together with all the other massive offerings to get people inside the showrooms for the 171 plates, should give the motor industry new impetus after the last few months has seen a bit of a fall back following the huge sales at the first part of the year.
Brexit fears took the heat out of the market and as my colleague, Wayne O'Connor, revealed last week there has been a massive rise in imports from the North and the rest of the UK because of the major fall in sterling.
Although there are great bargains to be had, make sure you do your sums. You will still be liable to pay VRT on top of your purchase price and then there is the cost of importation. It's not a thing I personally would do as I think it is important to have a relationship with your local garage and showroom.
I would rather buy from someone who knows I'll be coming back to them if there's a problem - and on the other side buying from them again if everything goes well. And on a wider society level it is important to keep dealers as part of our local economy. That said, the only way people can be stopped voting with their feet and wallets is to make the whole experience of buying a car at home both pleasurable and affordable. Nobody has a right to our loyalty if they don't earn it.
If you are beginning to shop around for a new car, really have a good look at what is on offer. Dealers seem to have a lot of stock to shift and they are very keen to make the deal. Don't be afraid to demand a good one. The PCP schemes have had a great impact on the market and enabled people with a good level of security get into a new car on a relatively modest monthly outlay.
Just be careful when adding on the extras and that in three years you will be facing a big payment to keep the car, or you will need to take out another plan. And remember even if you are not buying new, the stock of second-hand cars is rising after a few years of scarcity.
No dealer wants to be left with a lot on their hands.