In Skoda we trust

Skoda SuperbCycling has ruled the headlines this summer, with a historic first British Tour de France win for Bradley Wiggins and no less than seven gold medals in the Olympic velodrome, spearheaded by Team GB’s Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.

The increasing success of our cyclists over the past few years has inspired more and more amateurs to follow in their heroes’ footsteps, including our very own Picture Editor, May Starey. For the second year in a row, she headed to France for the L’Etape Du Tour, an event which lets you experience stages of the Tour de France route for yourself, a few days before the pro riders.

The challenge in the office was to find the right car to get May, her husband and friends to the famous hills. It needed to be economical enough to cover long distances without breaking the bank, comfortable enough to relax tired legs and have as much space as a cruise liner.

After a few hours of head scratching and Top Trump style debates, we decided to do the same as a stumped exam candidate, and copy remorselessly. We’d drive the same motor as pretty much every official and team member who drives the 2,100-mile route. And that meant taking a Skoda Superb.

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No less than 300 Skodas supported the Tour this year, so each time you witness a sinewy cyclist grimacing with effort, there’ll be a Superb in chase, normally with a team coach shouting words of encouragement from the window.

Puncture a tyre, or worse, and a new part will be whisked from one of their roof racks before the riders say, “can I just sit here for a minute”.

And it’s not just because Skoda wants to sell cars to the two billion people watching on TV. Very few other models would fit the bill.

The Skoda Superb is effortless to drive, unbelievably commodious and hushed, even at speed. It’s one of those cars which will turn you into its biggest fan. Do you remember its TV advert? No, we don’t either. That’s because Skoda hardly needed to bother with one. It’s owners – and journalists like us – will keep telling people how good it is until we border on being the worst bore at the party.

In May’s words, “It was amazing, simply amazing. My husband’s mum kept trying to move the seats forward, because she couldn’t understand how she had so much legroom. If I was buying a family car it would go straight to the top of my list. I liked driving it so much I didn’t let anyone else behind the wheel in 1,000 miles.”

It wins our unofficial gold medal for team pursuits hands down.

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Car running costs more of a worry than paying rent or job security

63% of drivers said running a car is their main financial concern in the current economic climate – above paying rent, a mortgage, or job security. 

As part of the brand new “Auto Trader Owners’ Guide” we asked motorists’ about their buying and selling behaviour and how the economy has impacted on their car purchases.

Over half (55%) of the drivers we asked have less disposable income now than they did at the beginning of this year, so cheaper running costs are now more important than ever. 53% said they were looking for a vehicle that is cheaper to run despite the cost of fuel declining slightly during May and June of this year [i] – filling up the tank remains the primary concern for 82% of motorists, followed by insurance fees (67%).

The recession has also meant that people are holding on to their cars for longer and less new car registrations were made in 2009 – 2011. As a result the number of vehicles aged over ten years old in the used car market has risen and so the average price of a second hand vehicle has fallen by 5% to £8,620 – the lowest since Auto Trader began tracking used car prices in January 2010.

Demand for nearly new vehicles is still on the rise so the price of younger vehicles has increased – vehicles under one year old are now fetching 3% more quarter-on-quarter. The most popular vehicles to buy are more economical and affordable small cars. Amongst motorists that have purchased a car in the past three months, small family cars like the Volkswagen Golf and supermini models such as the Ford Fiesta are most commonly sought after.

32% of new car owners said they chose their car in order to save money on fuel, tax or insurance, compared with 24% of used car owners. With new motors and fuel-efficient technology generally offering more miles to the gallon, new car registrations rose for the fourth successive month by 3.5% in June 2012 – driven by demand from private buyers, who bought 9.8% more cars in June 2012 year-on-year [ii].

Tim Peake, Group Strategy Director at Auto Trader, explains:  “With the average cost of used vehicles declining, it’s easy to make the assumption that now is a good time to buy a used car. However, this average drop in price has been caused by an abundance of older vehicles aged ten years plus in the market, and younger second-hand vehicles are scarce. Therefore, now is also a good time to invest in a new vehicle. Not only will you benefit financially from a more economical motor, but as younger models are in high demand, your car may have a greater chance of holding its value into the future.”

Download the full report for free here.


[i] Based on the The AA Fuel Price Report, May – June 2012
[ii] According to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) June 2012 New Car Registration figures

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Dire Straits beats Queen in Auto Trader’s top 10 driving songs

We all know the importance of a good driving song which is why we asked our customers to vote on the very best tracks to accompany any road trip.

Unfortunately the classic sing-a-long track Bohemian Rhapsody didn’t quite make it in to our top 10 list of driving songs and two other Queen tunes also failed to beat The Dire Straits hit ‘Sultans of Swing’ to the top spot in our survey of the UK’s top ten driving songs.

When we asked our customers, 76% revealed they turn up the volume when their favourite driving song comes on the radio, while 60% sing along (but only if by themselves in the car) and 38% used the steering wheel as an impromptu drum.

Worryingly, 7% said they ‘jigged about’ to the song, 2% played the air guitar and 1% sang into an imaginary microphone!

So without further ado, the Auto Trader top ten driving songs are:

1. Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits

2. We Will Rock You – Queen

3. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen

4. Good Vibrations – Beach Boys

5. Go Your Own Way  – Fleetwood Mac

6. All Right Now – Free

7. Born In The USA  – Bruce Springsteen

8. Rolling In The Deep – Adele

9. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

10. I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – Rolling Stones

You can listen to the whole playlist, here on YouTube or the top tune below

Nathan Coe, Group Director at Auto Trader said: “We all have a favourite driving song and it’s interesting to note that although Auto Trader’s customers are from all age groups it is the hits from the 1970s, with four out of the top six, that dominate with only one recent hit making it into the top ten. Maybe they just don’t make them like they used to anymore.”

(Auto Trader Survey – May 2012: 1217 respondents)

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Brits loyal to home grown motors

In advance of the imminent Jubilee celebrations, it appears that Brits are just as patriotic about their cars as Queen Elizabeth II herself.

New research from Auto Trader, reveals that despite the country being in the heart of a double-dip recession, over two thirds (68%) of drivers intend to buy a car in the next six months – and of these, 58% plan to buy British.

Britain’s strong heritage in motoring and car manufacturing is recognised by over two thirds (69%) of drivers, and whilst the majority of British car manufacturers are now owned by overseas companies, we are still loyal to historically British car brands and vehicles made on our own turf.

Almost a third (29%) of drivers own a British-made car[i], and national pride is a major deciding factor for those who plan to make their next purchase a British motor. Half (50%) would do so to bolster the economy, with more than a third (35%) citing supporting our country’s heritage as their motivation for buying British. And our nation’s car brands are also appealing in their own right – over a third (34%) consider British motors to be stylish.

The findings also revealed that the Jaguar E-type, no stranger to the top spot of car lists, was voted the most iconic British model, followed by the Mini Cooper (21%), Aston Martin DB5 (12%) and Rolls Royce Phantom (9%).

Top 10 most iconic British cars:
1. Jaguar E-type
2. Mini Cooper
3. Aston Martin DB5
4. Rolls Royce Phantom
5. Aston Martin Vantage V8
6. Land Rover Defender
=7/8. Morris Minor
=7/8. McLaren F1
9. Bentley 4 ½ Litre
10. Austin Allegro

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And when it comes to the most iconic brands this country has produced, luxury marques are the most popular, with Rolls Royce (27%) – one of the Royal Family’s favoured manufacturers – topping the list followed by Aston Martin (23%) and Jaguar (16%).

The purchasing loyalty that Brits have towards our own motors also extends to other goods of British origin. Over four in ten (44%) intend to buy British groceries in the next six months and almost a third (30%) will spend on clothing made on British soil.

Jon Quirk, Auto Trader’s Editor-in-Chief, said:

“There’s definitely a sense of national pride in the air at the moment as people all around the country are gearing up for the Jubilee celebrations, and it’s great to see this patriotism reflected when it comes to our car-buying decisions. We should be proud of our country’s motoring heritage and it’s not surprising that Brits are still loyal to home-grown brands – we’ve produced some of the most iconic and head-turning motors for decades.”

[i] Defined as a brand originating from Britain, or a British brand still manufactured in some part in this country.

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Auto Trader Easter Thunderball

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The Auto Trader Easter Thunderball at Santa Pod Raceway is  an unashamed spectacle of 300mph Top Fuel Dragsters, car-crushing Monster Trucks and live-action arena stunts.

You’ll get to see Europe’s only “Nitro Shootout” with 300mph Top Fuel Dragsters and Nitro Funny Cars going head to head. Piloted by Europe’s top Drag Racing talent, these 8000bhp machines accelerate from 0-100mph in less than 1 second! Add in over 20 more race classes inc 200mph Drag Bikes, the Wheelie Car and truck, a Rocket Bike, and the famous 270mph Jet Car – the kids won’t want to go home!

Off-track action is equally as exciting with loads of entertainment aimed squarely at families looking for a great day out. Attractions include car crushing Monster Trucks, Freestyle Motocross, Live Action Arena stunts and displays, funfair rides, kid’s sideshows plus full catering and bar facilities. Easter Monday is Monster Truck Madness day with 4 trucks in the crush-off!

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Kids under 16 go FREE – maximum 3 per adult. Santa Pod Raceway can be found near Northampton J14 or 15 M1. For more info and to buy your tickets now, visit www.santapod.co.uk

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Gap Insurance: Explained

Buy a new or used car and you may be invited to take out GAP insurance alongside the various finance products offered by your local dealership. What is it? And more importantly, is it worth it?

GAP – standing for Guaranteed Asset Protection – insurance is designed to cover the difference between the cost you paid for your car and its current market value. Many people make the mistake of thinking that their standard car insurance will cover the cost of the car at the time of purchase, when in reality your insurer will only pay out the current market value in the case of a write-off or theft. This can lead to a shortfall of many thousands of pounds, particularly if there is a large amount of finance left on the car, or if it has depreciated heavily.

There are a number of different types of GAP insurance:

RTI or BTI (Return to Invoice or Back to Invoice)
Take out an RTI GAP insurance policy and should you lose your car through accident or theft, the insurer will pay the difference between the amount of your settlement claim and the amount you originally paid for the car.

AVG (Agreed Value GAP)
Available for cars bought from private individuals or auction.. It underwrites the Glasses Guide Retail value of the car at the time of purchase and pays back to this value for up to 3 years.

Finance GAP insurance
This covers the amount of any outstanding finance or loan agreements on the car. This is particularly relevant if you lease rather than buy your car outright, as you will still be liable for the cost in the event of loss or theft. This can mean no car and a huge debt to pay.

BTI+ (Back to Invoice+)

This is a combined RTI and Finance GAP policy that will either pay back to the original invoice price or clear the outstanding finance, whichever the greater.

VRI (Vehicle Replacement Insurance)
Under this cover, the insurer will cover the cost of replacing your vehicle with a like-for-like new model, usually even if the retail price has increased since your purchase.

Whether you think GAP insurance is worthwhile expense will depend on whether you are able to cover the difference between any potential settlement and any outstanding finance yourself. It is not likely to be particularly useful is the market value of your car was particularly low at the time of purchase, though some insurance companies are now offering agreed value gap insurance on privately bought second hand cars.

Taking out GAP insurance may also be useful if the car you have bought is likely to depreciate heavily, as this can mean the gap between your cover and liability can increase rapidly over a short period of time.

Before you do sign on the dotted line however, it’s worth checking with your insurer before taking out a separate GAP policy, as many are now offering the service as part of normal car insurance cover.

SPECIAL OFFER: Get 10 per cent off your order by entering the code AT12 into the promotional code box when choosing your GAP insurance with us


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Arnold Clark Real Sale iPad giveaway!

To celebrate the launch of their Real Sale, our friends at Arnold Clark have provided an Apple iPad 2 to give away to our fans. Simply visit our Facebook page to enter.

The Arnold Clark Real Sale runs from Monday 26th December and offers real choice and real savings. With over 10,000 cars available from 145 Arnold Clark dealerships throughout the UK – you’re bound to find a car deal that suits you!

The man himself, Sir Arnold Clark, Chairman and Chief executive said, “with huge savings on over 10,000 vehicles, customers are guaranteed to pick up a bargain. Couple these amazingly low prices with low finance rates, quick delivery on all vehicles, drive away insurance and ACCIST, the complimentary accident service and Arnold Clark has the perfect motoring package.”

So if you’re looking to buy a new car, visit your local Arnold Clark branch or check out their website for your nearest branch and search over 10,000 cars, before incredible savings accelerate away!

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Auto’s Christmas Crackers Competition!

We love Christmas at Auto Trader and when we’re in the festive spirit we conjure up competitions that would make a reformed Scrooge look stingy.

Today we launched our brand new competition, Auto’s Christmas Crackers, an interactive treasure hunt to win a host of mystery prizes. We’ll be sharing two cryptic clues on our Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as our brand new Google + page every day, to guide our online community to the Christmas crackers hidden throughout the Auto Trader website.  Every cracker the players find will increase their chances of winning anything from cash rewards to a brand new Amazon Kindle.
The competition encourages fans to work together to solve the clues, encouraging community interaction, problem sharing and solving. The campaign enables participants to engage with Auto Trader’s search functionality and broadens Auto Trader’s appeal to new audiences through publishing exciting content, relevant even to those not yet looking to buy a new car.
Ian MacDonald, Head of Consumer Marketing at Auto Trader said: “Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter offer a wealth of benefits to marketers, one of which is their real-time nature. We have seen great success from leveraging this to delight UK consumers with engaging, interactive, real-time treasure hunts which also encourage users to sample how easy our site is to use, when searching for a new or used car.”


Auto’s Christmas Crackers follows on from last year’s social media campaign, ‘Golden Keys’, which saw over 1.6 million searches carried out on the site to hunt down the winning keys. The competition is running every day from the 13th December until the 22nd December.

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Fueltopia 2011 charity ‘toy run’

This weekend, online petrolhead community, Fueltopia will be launching its third annual charity ‘toy run’ from London’s Ace Cafe on Saturday.

This year the good-will event will be supported by the masters of rallying, Prodrive, who have kindly allowed Colin McRae’s championship Subaru to be the guest of honour on the start line. Over fifty cars have pre-registered to take part in the charity drive, that will see the high-powered convoy leave North london’s Ace Cafe at 9:30 sharp and head to the John Radcliffe’s Children’s Hospital and finally onto the CHASE Children’s Hospice in Guildford to donate a sack of toys to the kids.

First stop of the day is The John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital is devoted to the care of sick children providing expert cancer care and support. Next stop will be the equally amazing CHASE Children’s Hospice who strive to provide the best possible care & dignity for children suffering with terminal illness – as well as supporting their families through what must be an impossible time.

It’s a cause that is close to Auto Trader’s hearts and it’s a great chance to put a smile on some very poorly children’s faces who, due to their illnesses, will be spending Christmas away from home.

For more details on how you can get involved visit Fueltopia’s website. There is no fee to enter, but all drivers are requested to bring a selection of new toys to donate to the two stops.

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Win tickets to Top Gear Live in London

Fancy joining Clarkson, Hammond and May at the ultimate Top Gear event and see The Stig unleashed on an indoor track? Well we’ve got some spare tickets for Top Gear Live at the ExCel in London and we’re pleased to announce we’re giving them away to our Twitter followers.

Just make sure you:

  • Follow @AutoTrader_UK on twitter
  • & retweet our competition invite to enter.

There are 20 pairs of tickets up for grabs – a limited selection of show times and dates are available from Friday 25th November to Sunday 27th November (these will be allocated to winners on a first come first served basis – so make sure you’re free!).

Remember we’ll be direct messaging the winners on Twitter so you have to be following us in order to organise delivery of your prize!

Just make sure your tweet contains our Twitter name (@AutoTrader_UK so we can track you as a contestant) and a link to this blog post (of which  is a short version) and include the hashtag #ATcomp

Competition closes Monday 21st November at midday

 

Terms and conditions:

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