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How Used Car Prices Can Vary

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 18 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Car Prices Regional Variations Used Car

It is amazing how much car prices can vary from region to region throughout the United Kingdom. Not everyone is willing to travel hundreds of miles just to buy a used car, but those who do could save themselves a small fortune.

For instance, take a popular family hatchback like the Ford Mondeo Zetec. In March 2009, those looking for one with a two-litre diesel engine, a manual gearbox, an ‘08’ registration and less than 7,000 miles on the clock could save themselves thousands of pounds if willing to travel to get a good deal.

One trader in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, was offering such a model with 6,800 miles on the clock for £15,995, but a trader in Wigan was selling one with a mileage of 6,250 for £13,495 – a saving of £2,500. Better still, a car supermarket in the heart of rural Cheshire had such a car on sale for £12,500 and it had done only 4,260 miles.

Glasgow Miles Better

But the top prize went to a car supermarket in Glasgow, which had a ‘58’ registration car with 6,281 miles on the clock for £12,299. That’s an incredible £3,696 cheaper than the equivalent model in Ballymena and the car in Glasgow was not as old.

On the face of it, all of these cars offered decent value for money because, at the time, the ‘on-the-road’ list price for a new Ford Mondeo Zetec hatchback with that specification was £20,445. But it does demonstrate just how much regional variations can save you when buying a used car in the UK.

The same rule applies to those hunting for something smaller and more nimble. Take the Mini Cooper, for example. The number of optional extras on this car can make it difficult to compare like with like, but for a three-door hatchback, with a 1.6-litre, petrol engine, manual gearbox and ‘08’ registration, the variation in prices was considerable.

Hunt Down a Bargain

A dealer in Chesterfield had such a car with 7,737 miles on the clock for sale at £15,499, but a Guildford trader was selling one at £14,295 and it had done just 7,127 miles. In Nottingham a trader had slashed the price to £13,850 on a model that had covered 5,113 miles. But the more willing a buyer is to hunt down a bargain, the better the discount is likely to be, and in Somerset a dealer had a 2009, ‘58’ registration car with only 600 miles on the clock available for only £11,749.

It means that a buyer in Chesterfield who is willing to travel a round trip of 360 miles, instead of purchasing a car from his local dealer, could save a massive £3,750. In addition, he would end up with a car that is not as old and has not covered nearly as many miles. Obviously, no two used cars are identical and the cheapest is not necessarily the best – but the most expensive is not necessarily the best either. All nearly-new cars should be excellent condition, however, so before buying a used car, be sure to check the prices available in other parts of the UK.

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