'Which financial package and car would work best for me?'
Aidan Timmons and Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham team up to help readers make the right choice with their next car. Aidan visits dealers all over the country to produce a monthly guidebook on the values of used cars. He is co-editor of Motor Trade Publishers, who supply a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses. Eddie is author of former best-seller 'Clever Car Buying'
I currently have a company car, a 161-D Volkswagen Golf valued at €28,000. I have always done enough mileage to qualify for the 12pc rate of BIK, which I was happy enough to pay, but my role is going to change and I will be doing less work mileage, so I will likely to go to 24pc, if not higher, and will be paying €2,651 net a year. I could get a car allowance if I wanted, but I have had company car for over six years and am completely confused looking at the different finance packages and which would work out more cost-effective and what car to then go for.
Aidan and Eddie: It is hard to know for sure with each individual circumstance. If you owned your own car, would you receive a set mileage allowance or will you follow the civil service rates? If the latter, they are quite generous, but be careful in getting carried away with thinking you will come out with a nice tidy expenses package every month because the rates should also cover depreciation on your car, maintenance, insurance and tax. If you are a spender and not a saver, you could easily burn any perceived excess and have nothing to show for it when you change again. If your commute to work will be on your time and not your employer's, you need to calculate that cost too.
The advice is to get the BIK amount first, then look at the same car as a one or two-year-old and factor changing every three years. Calculate all the stuff mentioned and see how you fare.
Help us help you
* We love getting your enquiries and try to reply to as many as possible here or via email. The ones dealt with here often represent a cross section of individual questions. You can help us help you with our free, independent, advice by including the following in your queries:
c Budget (including trade-in).
c Annual mileage (in kms).
c Size of car required (number of seats).
c Present car (make, model, year and mileage) if relevant.