Thursday 19 April 2018

'Tis the season to be patient: what the salesman said as we tried to buy a people carrier

It's coming on Christmas and everyone likes to hear the festive cheer of tills ringing so it is surprising when a salesman looks you straight in the eyes and advises: "Wait until the new year and you will have a better selection to choose from."

They say that salesmen have to be too-sweet-to-be-wholesome to flog a car. But that wasn't the case with Gearoid Candy. He just offered sound advice to us, the customer.

We met Gearoid -- a Volkswagen sales specialist -- in the sleek, spacious and modern showroom operated by the Sheehy Motor Group in Carlow.

It was just beginning to get dark as we pulled in and parked right by the showroom door on a cold and frosty December day. Our aim was to look for the best options on offer for us as we searched for a good deal on a roomy multi-purpose vehicle.

This is how it went:

We arrived in a seven-year-old, seven-seater with 235,000 kilometres on the clock. We were looking at trading it in against a new or decent used car. After that, the only specifications to fulfil were that any potential suitor Gearoid had in stock be roomy (though not necessarily as large as a seven-seater) and have the versatility to be used for business and pleasure.

No sooner had we finished explaining our thinking to Gearoid than he had us at the side of a new Volkswagen Tiguan 2-litre in metallic silver. We could see a lot of flexibility and comfort. All the backseats could be folded flat if needed, adding a lot of extra room.

All sounding good so far. Coupled with the relatively low road tax, our heads were definitely turned.

A new Tiguan comes with a price tag of €30,300 however.

So we were keen to sit down with Gearoid and talk trade-in and finance to see whether we could knock a few euro off to make it a more manageable sum.

Our own faithful wagon was appraised on site and given a valuation of €3,300, meaning we were down to €27,000. The payment plan -- through VW Bank at 3.9pc -- would then work out at €795 a month over three years or €607 a month over four years.

Much as we liked it, the price and PCP (personal contract plan) option were always going to be towards the higher end of the market for the average buyer.

Also, while it may not have made much of a difference to the outcome, we were disappointed not to have been offered a slightly higher trade-in price.

That is especially because we had been quoted almost double the €3,300 elsewhere barely a week before.

BOOSTED

No matter. Any decent second-hands for us to consider?

No, there was nothing for us on the day.

Why? This is where Gearoid impressed.

He advised that December was the wrong time of the year to buy a car generally.

For new cars, keen eyes would be fixed on the 141s, while for second-hands, the boosted sale of new vehicles from January would create an influx in used cars.

"Hold out for the new year," he said with a knowing nod.

On the day, despite there being little to suit us, Gearoid had us feeling confident that, come January, should we still be in search of a car, we'd seek him out again.

Irish Independent

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