Car buyers: how to steer through the labyrinth of choice


For Ben and Pamela Thomas, the decision over whether to buy an electric car was decided by a stray roof tile. 

When a storm dislodged the ceramic projectile that wrote off their trusty VW Polo, they began the search for a new model, and were keen to try their first electric vehicle. Yet more than a year later, they are still waiting. 

At first, they waited months for an electric Hyundai, only for the factory to cancel the order weeks before delivery. 

Then a broker they knew emailed, having found the same model — also brand new — in stock. 

The lease deal allowed them to “try” the battery car for two years, says Ben Thomas, while the low running costs and environmental benefits appealed to the retired hospital manager.

Finally, in two weeks, they will get the chance to use the electric charger they installed in their Surrey home last spring. 

Their purchase reflects the experiences — and frustrations — of millions of UK motorists who navigate the car-buying process. Decisions such as whether to buy electric or not, selecting a new or used model and which of the myriad finance products to use for the purchase have turned the process into a labyrinth of choices. Added to this, recent production delays have caused hold-ups for even the most determined buyer.

And just as new vehicles become more expensive — with costly electric cars gaining in popularity — persistent inflation is sapping consumers’ spending power, while rising labour and material costs and higher interest rates threaten

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