Magazine article The Spectator

Shall I, Shan't I?

Magazine article The Spectator

Shall I, Shan't I?

Article excerpt

The most popular new car choice among National Lottery winners is Mercedes, followed by BMW and Porsche. Then come the 4x4 Jeep, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Ford Escort, Jaguar, Ford Fiesta and Bentley. The dominance of German marques and the absence of French and Japanese probably says as much about British ideas of status as about the products themselves. The absence of mainland Europe from the winners' top ten holiday destinations (except for Greece, at number ten) probably says something as well. Florida comes top.

However, new cars such as those bought by these lucky few represent only around 20 per cent of the 8 million cars sold in the UK each year. The rest of us buy used or `pre-owned' cars, secondhand in plain English. By doing that we create a market estimated at around 28 billion a year. Despite its high casualty rate, that market is pretty constant and there's always room for new ideas.

One I'm thinking of trying is the One Stop Car Shop. It carries no stock, which means low overheads, but in effect it has got nearly every car for sale in the UK on its forecourt since they're nearly all accessible via the Internet (85 per cent on the Exchange & Mart and Autrotrader lists). You ring One Stop Car Shop on 01202 314433 or visit its website (www.onestopcarshop.com), specifying the sort of car you want in as much detail as possible. The typical buyer seeks something in the L7,000-L14,000 range, wants to feel safe in the purchase and doesn't want to spend a lot of time and money on the search (the average time spent searching for a used car is estimated at four to five weeks).

One Stop Car Shop then trawls the net, makes enquiries of likely cars and discusses them with you. If you choose one, it sends someone to inspect and, if satisfactory, buy it. It is then put through a 200-point mechanical and bodywork inspection, removing any scratches, dents or chips, valeted and delivered to your door with a three-month warranty, extendable - if you pay extra - up to 36 months. If the car needs work under the warranty it will be done by a main dealer convenient to you. If you need to trade in a car One Stop Car Shop will get you a price and arrange the deal, or will advise on how to advertise and how much to ask if you're selling privately. …

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