AA Cars to clean up car buying

Know what you are getting into

One in three UK drivers thinks buying a car is a stressful experience, while one in eight admits to having made an ‘almighty mistake’ when buying a car

One in three UK drivers thinks buying a car is a stressful experience, while one in eight admits to having made an ‘almighty mistake’ when buying a car

One in three UK drivers thinks buying a car is a stressful experience, while one in eight admits to having made an ‘almighty mistake’ when buying one, according to a new AA-Populus survey of 22,194 AA members.*

At a time when nearly two-thirds (60%) of motorists say they are in the market for a car, 17% of them within a year, drivers can now search for their next car through theAACars.com  – an interactive website that de-risks the buying process by offering great advice and transparency in putting consumers in touch with recognised dealers.

Every buyer is provided with an AA Cars History Check (worth up to £20) up front so that they can have peace of mind regarding the car's history and authenticity.  The cost is paid by AA Cars and the check is provided free to the consumer.

Members' views

AA research into the 'State of the Nation’s Cars' finds:

  • 38% admit they don’t research before buying a car
  • 63% think it is safer to buy from a main dealer or trusted brand
  • 38% think buying a car is a risky experience
  • Only 37% understand their legal rights when buying a car, falling to 21% of 18 to 34 year olds
  • Just 37% tend to buy cars with their head rather than their heart

Despite this, 32% do say buying a car is an enjoyable experience

Biggest fears

Car buyers do entertain uncertainty about car buying, though.  Their top concerns in order are:

  • Buying a car that turns out to be mechanically unreliable
  • Buying a rebuilt write-off
  • Buying a stolen car
  • Buying a car with outstanding finance
  • Buying a car that has been ‘clocked’
  • Paying over the odds
  • Buying an ex-hire or company car

Age and Geography

Opinions on car buying vary by age and geography:

  • The over 65s were much more likely to think it is safer to buy from a trusted brand or main dealer (76%) compared to 18-24 year olds (45%).
  • Drivers in the East of England and Northern Ireland were more likely to do lots of research before buying a car.
  • Drivers in the traditional home of the UK motor industry in the West Midlands and drivers in the South West were more likely to think that buying a car is always risky (40%).
  • Female drivers and younger drivers were more likely to buy with their hearts rather than their heads.
  • Londoners were most stressed buying a car, followed by those in Yorkshire and Humberside.
  • Men and the over 65s were more likely to find car buying an enjoyable experience.
  • Males and drivers in Northern Ireland (despite researching more) were most likely to admit to making an ‘almighty mistake’ with one or more car purchases.
  • Buying a stolen car was least likely to be the number one fear in Scotland and London.
  • Fewer drivers in the North West and Wales were worried about mechanical failure as their biggest fear.

Online car ‘dating agency’

At launch the AA will present more than 110,000 used cars for sale from over 2,000 dealers throughout the UK on its new website, theAACars.com.

It works rather like an online dating agency, matching cars to the needs and desires of the buyer and then introducing them to the vendor, with whom they complete the deal.

Before buying a home people do their research; arrange a structural survey and legal search. But too many people rush into buying a car with their eyes closed, without doing any research

Edmund King, AA president

Comment

Edmund King, AA president, says: “Ten million drivers think buying a car is a stressful experience so we want this new service to help de-risk the often tricky process of buying a car.  The AA is well know for rescuing motorists at the roadside and for offering advice on almost everything to do with cars, from fuel to travelling abroad.

"In fact, one of the most common questions asked by AA members concerns advice on buying cars, which for most people is the second biggest purchase they will ever make, after buying a house.

“Before buying a home people do their research; arrange a structural survey and legal search. But too many people rush into buying a car with their eyes closed, without doing any research and, as a result, up to 4 million drivers say that they made an ‘almighty mistake’ with the car they bought.

"We want to ensure that drivers buy with their heads and not just their hearts.”

Before launching AA Cars the AA studied the Office of Fair Trading Report into the pitfalls of buying a used car and has sought to address the issues raised around more transparency, information and checks on vehicles.

The AA will help de-stress the buying process so that drivers don’t make the biggest mistake of their lives. It’s vital that car buyers really do know what they are getting into

Edmund King, AA president

Mr King says: “We know from past car history checks that a third of all cars checked had a significant hidden history**. In fact, 1 in 10 had outstanding finance, and some debts can result in a car being seized from the purchaser; 1 in 8 were recorded as insurance write-offs; 1 in 16 had significant mileage discrepancies – for example, the odometer had been ‘clocked’ to show a lower mileage; while nearly 91,400 had actually been reported stolen.

“This shows the importance of having an AA Cars History Check up front.

“The AA will help de-stress the buying process so that drivers don’t make the biggest mistake of their lives.  It’s vital that car buyers really do know what they are getting into.”


(8 July 2013)

*Populus received 22,194 responses from AA members to its online poll between 23 and 18 May 2013. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

**Experian AutoCheck data, 2011

AA Cars is powered by VCARS. Our cars are available nationwide. You can search and compare prices from both independent and franchised dealer networks.