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Why September is the time to buy a (nearly) new car

Author:   |  August 31st, 2018

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Great deals on new cars can be found at many dealerships all over Spain next month.

If you’re reading this and wondering what’s so special about car sales this month, the answer lies in changes to EU lab-testing procedures for new vehicles fresh off the production line, known as the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP)…

Not exactly what you’d call a catchy name, is it? Regardless, the idea is that WLTP supersedes the current testing regulation, NEDC – we won’t bore you with the full name – and from 1st September all new car registrations must be WLTP-certified. For a more thorough description and timeline of the WLTP transition, click here>>

Great, so what’s the issue? Well, many dealerships in EU nations, of which Spain is one, still have a lot of backlogged stock: unsold NEDC-compliant cars that cannot be registered to new owners after 1st September.

So… the solution is to register these vehicles with the Traffic Department, called Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT), before the end of August and sell the stock during the month of September as nearly new, or ex-showroom, models.

The effect of this is that total car registrations for the month of August – a typically quiet month for car sales – will go up by 26% compared to August 2017, with estimates for total monthly registrations ranging from between 91,000 and 100,000 vehicles. The last time August sales volumes were so high was 10 years ago, when 99,639 purchases were made.

Great, but why is this good for buyers in September? Anyone who has ever bought a new car is aware of the (rather demoralising) adage that “a car loses value as soon as you drive it off the forecourt”… well this, too, is true if the dealership has to register the vehicle before selling it on. It effectively becomes a second-hand car, albeit one with zero kilometres on the clock.

What all this means is that car dealerships up and down the land have no choice but to sell this stock at reduced prices – in some cases up to 40% less than the vehicle’s ticket price – making this upcoming month an unmissable opportunity for those looking to acquire a shiny new motor.

Just a word of warning though! The most heavily discounted cars in September will doubtless be those with diesel engines, since these have been most affected by the new regulations. While we’re not saying it’s the end of the (production) line for diesel motors, our advice is to take into account the rising price of diesel at the pump and predictions in the press about the impending decline of diesel motors compared to their petrol counterparts.

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