A Guide To Buying A Car For Christmas
If you're buying a car as a gift for your partner, or for a teenager who's learning to drive, you'll want to make sure you get the car they actually want.
Buying a car isn't like buying a pair of socks. It's expensive, and you can't just return it if you get the wrong size or the wrong colour. Car dealers aren't like Myer, where you can rock up with an unwanted Christmas gift and swap it for what you really wanted.
So how do you know what car to buy?
Well, we don't recommend trailing around car yards looking at different cars. That's more like the Nightmare Before Christmas.
Get the right car for Christmas
It's a much better idea to talk about the kind of car that your partner, daughter or son needs, and do them the favour of finding something that's just right, whether it's new or good condition secondhand.
Just be super careful to make sure you're buying a car at Christmas that they will really want or need, not the car that you would like to drive!
This might mean reducing the element of surprise a little, but everyone will be much better off in the long run.
Don't ruin the surprise
You might not be able to pick up the car right on Christmas Day, or even Christmas Eve. Cars are kinda hard to hide too. A car won't fit under the bed, or in your closet. So if you are going to save the car as a surprise, you'd better have a good plan for keeping it secret by parking it at a friends or relatives place.
The other thing to think about is how you're going to pay for and register the car. You might need the giftee to be on the loan, or to sign the registration paperwork.
At the end of the day, you're better off thinking of buying a car at Christmas as a way to take the stress out of purchasing a car for the person you're buying for.
If ruining the surprise is inevitable, make sure you still have some small gifts on Christmas day - something that gives the giftee a chance to show off their new wheels to their friends, and tell them how great you are.
Maximise your extra features
Upgrading to better specifications on your car will mean a better resale value a few years down the track. Features like all-wheel-drive rather than just front-wheel-drive, sunroofs and leather seats all add value to your car.
In December you might manage to get some of these features thrown in for the price of the base model if you work your negotiating strategy just right. You might choose to go for the expensive metallic paint, a red car for Christmas, as part of your package deal. What salesperson could resist that?
Haggle for a car for Christmas
December is a buyers market with lots of public holidays and people focusing on spending time with family and their Christmas shopping, rather than buying a car at Christmas. Dealers could be struggling to meet their end of month targets.
It's the perfect opportunity for you to snap up a new car at a discount price, with plenty of time to inspect the cars available and test drive as car yards are quieter. You'll be buying on your terms.
Wait until the end of the day when sales staff are wanting to get home to enjoy the summer sunshine, and you may be able to knock down the purchase price of the car. Try asking for a deal that excludes 'dealer prep', administration and marketing fees.
Giving a car for Christmas
So you've bought the perfect car and somehow managed to keep it a secret right up to Christmas Day. Now it's time to fetch the car from where it's being stored. You'll probably want to go for the big bow to finish the car.
Then you have to decide how to 'present' the present since it's a little tricky getting it under the Christmas tree. If it's for your partner, you could slip the car key under their pillow in the morning, or put it discreetly on their plate at breakfast (before you dish up those delicious Christmas morning crepes).
You might even go the extra mile and put the car key at the end of a secret Santa treasure hunt, with clues only that person will guess. Just make sure the hunt doesn't take them right past the car and spoil the ending.
This time of year can really stretch the finances, but don't worry, if you have your heart set on a car you can get a car loan to buy a car for Christmas. Shhhh... your Christmas car secret is totally safe with us.