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What’s My Car Worth?


 What’s My Car Worth?

When the time comes for you to swap your car for something which better suits your needs, one of the biggest questions you’ll want answering is how much you’re likely to get for your current vehicle.

The motor trade relies on people regularly swapping their cars for something newer or more in line with their changing requirements. So in order to be able to offer the most attractive selection of vehicles to their customers at all times, Philip Paul, and every other motor dealer, is constantly looking out for suitable vehicles to add to their stock.

In fact, we spend big chunks of our time on looking out for used cars which we believe our customers will want to buy - and that’s a never-ending task because, well, there are millions of cars out there!

In 2013 there were 35 million vehicles licensed for use on the road in Great Britain.

In addition, the number of licensed vehicles in the UK has increased every year since the end of the Second World War, except 1991.

But a snapshot of how car ownership has changed in the UK over the past half-century can be found in the fact that, in 2013, 40 per cent of private cars had a female registered keeper. 

Back in 2012, an RAC report found that the number of new female drivers was increasing year-on-year at twice the rate of new male drivers. Between 1995 and 2010 overall, it found, the number of women licence-holders rose by 23 per cent, while over the same period, male driver numbers grew by well under half that rate - at just nine per cent.

That all means there are lots more cars on the road - but if you drive any distance, you’ll also know how this means that our roads are more crowded than ever! 


For The Love Of Driving

Nevertheless, driving is something most of us enjoy to at least some degree, and especially when we have the chance to do it in a car which we’ve carefully chosen to fit in with our lifestyle and tastes.

When we’re whizzing around in our cars on a day-to-day basis, though, it’s unlikely that we give much thought to what they’re worth - except when it comes to the annual job of renewing our insurance, when we’re supposed to tell the company its approximate value.

And unless we’re lucky enough to be able to drive a classic car whose shrinking numbers mean there are queues of people looking to buy it as an investment, we all have to face the fact that the value of our car is going to fall the older it gets and the more we drive it.

This phenomenon, known as depreciation, is broadly speaking, the difference between what we pay for a car when we buy it and the price we get back for it when we trade it in or sell it on.

As What Car? says, this factor is overlooked by the vast majority of us, and only hits home when we do swap the car for our next one. Depreciation affects newer cars far more heavily than older ones, as every car loses the biggest proportion of its value in its first three years. The rate of decline in any vehicle’s value then slows down each year up to its eighth birthday, after which it levels off almost completely.


Depreciation - How To Protect Yourself

The good news is that you can help guard against depreciation by choosing what you buy in the first place wisely.

The biggest factor which goes into determining how quickly a car loses its value is what’s called ‘brand perception’. In other words, some makes of car - and sometimes, but more rarely, individual models - are considered more desirable, and so fetch higher prices than an equivalent model from another manufacturer. That’s why a used Audi or Volkswagen, for example, will cost more than a used SEAT or Skoda of the same age and with identical mileage, for example - even though underneath the skin the cars might be almost identical, and even have been built on the same production line!

Also coming into play in determining how quickly a car’s value depreciates are at least two other factors - its original price, and how much it costs to run.

Even though a car costing £40,000 might lose its value at the same rate as one costing £20,000, in pure cash terms, that means that the more expensive one will cost its original owner more in depreciation when they sell it on. Let’s say both cars’ values drop by 50 per cent over their first three years - a fairly typical figure - the owner of the £40,000 car will be looking at a £20,000 loss over that period, while the £20,000 one’s guardian will be worse off by half that amount - £10,000.

So the basic rule of thumb is, the more expensive the car in the first place, the more you’ll lose in pure money terms over the time you own it, even if it might lose its value at a slower rate than the cheaper car.

Among the best-performing cars depreciation-wise in recent years, according to the Daily Telegraph, are the Audi A3 diesel, the Abarth 500 (the hottest version of the big-selling Fiat 500), the Skoda Yeti, and another Audi, the mid-sized Q5 SUV. But because changing tastes and fashions play a part in deciding which cars fare the best in this regard, the list does change from year to year.


Getting The Right Value

You’ve probably noticed that in recent years there’s been an explosion in the number of online and offline resources offering you the chance to value your car.

These services have been made possible by the fact that there’s so much more data around which can be harnessed to provide a value for just about any car on the road at any point in its history.

The most trusted services are ones which have been used by the motor trade for many years. Perhaps the best-known is Glass’s Car Valuation Guide, which is a subscription-only publication that gathers “the latest, up-to-the-minute data on accurate car values; a never-ending process which takes in everything from high street dealer prices of both used and  new cars, to economic trends, prevailing auction values, consumer tastes, and many other factors.”

It’s precisely because all these factors come into play when calculating the value of a used car, and that it is a constantly-changing process, that makes it such a challenge to pinpoint a car’s exact value at any point in time.

But all that said, this has to balanced against the fact that more information than ever is gathered about our cars, how we service, maintain and drive them, and how all these things affect their value on an ongoing basis, which makes it easier than ever for us to keep a reasonably accurate track of their value at any given time.


Let Us Tap Into All This Data For You

At Philip Paul, we’re happy to admit that it’s in the interests of our business to know about all the trends and factors which affect the values of used cars.

And when it comes to individual models, we also carefully record all our sales, so that we build up an ongoing picture of the cars which are the most popular among our customers, and we can make sure that we price them so that they will find a ready buyer.

There’s no substitute for first-hand experience when it comes to calculating how much an individual car is worth, and it’s something which, after many years, become more like a ‘sixth sense’, which tells us what we need to look for when valuing a car.

But that doesn’t mean we can skimp on the task - in fact, it means that we’re pretty demanding when we’re working out what we think a car is worth. We will examine a car thoroughly, taking note the following factors:

• Its age

• the exact specification

• whether it’s fitted with any factory or aftermarket extras

• the recorded mileage

• how many owners it has had

• its condition, and how this matches what can be expected of a car of its age

• whether it has a service record, and how complete this is, and

• how strong we think demand will be for that car.

Only when we put all these factors together can we offer our customers an honest appraisal of what their car is worth.

And that’s the key to our car valuation service. We could very easily take five minutes looking over a car, and then offer the owner a falsely high valuation figure for it, in the hope that they will offer it for us to sell, and then buy its replacement from us. But we know that, precisely because there’s so much more information than ever out there about car values, we need to take a little more time to unearth all the facts we can about any car, to build up an accurate picture of it, so that our valuation is as fair and accurate as possible. 


As Fair A Deal As Possible

We take all this time and trouble because we take pride in the job we do, and most of all, we like making, and keeping, our customers happy.

Dealing honestly with customers, and being open with them, is the key to gaining respect in the motor trade, as in any other business. So we’re prepared to invest all the time necessary to find out all we can about a car, because only by doing this can we make you an honest and realistic offer that you’re happy to accept. 

You can quickly and easily get a car valuation online from Philip Paul, or if you live near our car showroom in Oswestry, you can make an appointment to come to see us and we’ll happily give you a full appraisal of your car’s value.