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Revealed: the time it takes to choose a new car

New 18 plate car

UK drivers spend some 42 hours deciding on their next car – and around a third of that time is now spent on choosing the right kind of finance, according to new research.

The survey from AA Cars, the AA’s used car website, found that despite advances such as online buying sites and the advent of one-stop shopping, buyers still spend more than a day (26.7 hours) on researching, reading reviews and shopping around for new vehicles alone.

But that’s not it. On average, Brits spend more than 15 hours picking the right funding for their next vehicle – which accounts for around a third of the whole purchasing process.

The AA-Populus poll, which surveyed over 17,000 drivers, also found that more than a third (35%) of Brits actually spend more than 48 hours choosing a car.

Car finance

As the sheer quantity of financing options increases, consumers are spending more time working out which finance options are best for them.

One in five (18%) say they spend over 48 hours just to decide on the most cost effective finance to choose, underpinning the growing complexity of car finance choices.

“The process of choosing the car and how to finance it, can be made so much easier if you do some homework first,” said James Fairclough, CEO at AA Cars.

“The garage may come up with attractive finance options which could be a loan, personal contract plan (PCP), lease-purchase or hire-purchase (HP).

“Such deals can be very complex but it is important to compare the interest rates and any additional charges with the wider market – you don’t have to use finance offered the garage.

“Some dealers offer interest-free finance especially for new or nearly-new cars but may require a large deposit. You need to make sure you are comparing like with like – for example ask for a complete breakdown of charges that might include arrangement fees and early repayment penalties.

“If you take out a separate car loan, it effectively means you are a cash buyer when you do the deal with the garage.

“Interest rates quoted will be ‘typical’ – meaning that if you have a poor credit rating you could find you pay a higher rate of interest.

“It’s a good idea to refer to comparison sites to compare finance offers. But take care in getting quotes from providers because doing that with more than one could adversely affect your credit rating and you may end up with a refusal.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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