Global events are changing the way we shop, and more and more consumers are heading to the web to purchase high-value goods. So, is it possible to buy a car in New Zealand online? The answer is yes.
We rely on our cars in New Zealand – with limited public transport options, car travel is most definitely king. We also tend to hold on to our cars for many years, meaning NZ also has one of the oldest vehicle fleets by international standards. The average age of the NZ light vehicle fleet is approximately 13 years.
Covid has, of course, impacted the market. New car sales are lower than before the pandemic, and many independent used car dealerships have closed due to a lack of available imported vehicle stock and faltering customer confidence.
There are still plenty of choices, however, and buyers need to do precisely the same things online that they’d do when buying a car physically.
Head to your preferred big brand car dealerships for “new”. On a tighter budget? Make the well-regarded used-car chains (Turners, 2CheapCars, etc.) your first online stop and also check out Autotrader and Trade Me.
Take your time, compare prices with similar makes, models and mileages, read the online reviews and while there are plenty of great deals to be done privately, bear in mind that if it’s too good to be true, there might be a catch!
Not looking for a specific vehicle but want to check safety ratings and green credentials to help you choose? Rightcar, the Government-backed website, helps vehicle buyers choose safer, cleaner and more efficient cars. You can check fuel economy, safety, air pollution and carbon emission ratings across every conceivable make and model.
One of the obvious problems in buying online is that each car is only as good as its photos. So, once again, take the time to study all exterior and interior shots carefully and compare them with similar models from other sources. Read and re-read the description. Then read it again, just to be sure. A good listing will also indicate all necessary background check information for ultimate peace of mind (all car listings on Trade Me now come with a background check).
It is recommended and expected to get an independent mechanical check before buying any used car in New Zealand. A trusted and professional opinion can assess whether the car needs maintenance or has hidden problems. These services are easy to find online. The AA, for example, offers an AA Vehicle Appraisal service by an experienced mechanic. For a more thorough 100+ point vehicle check, the AA Pre Purchase Inspection costs around $200.
Now the safety side is in order, it’s essential to check ownership history, that there is no debt owed on the vehicle, that it hasn’t been involved in any previous accidents, and that the vehicle is correctly and currently licensed and registered. This won’t be a concern if you buy online from a dealer, but it can be useful for private purchases. Rightcar, Jam and MotorWeb are excellent and take their information from Government registries.
Plenty of finance options are available, so take your time to compare each deal. You’ll find handy finance calculators on all the good websites. Dealerships often organise car finance through a range of lenders and will work with you to find a deal that suits and keeps you on track financially. Applying takes minutes and looks for low fixed interest rates and flexible deposit options.
Once you've bought a vehicle, remember to inform NZ Transport Agency as soon as possible by putting it in your name online. It only takes a few minutes and costs $9.
Click-and-collect and free showroom-to-home delivery is becoming more popular. New and used-car dealers are operating in a competitive landscape, where every customer counts so, why not ask if they provide that service for a genuinely contactless car-buying experience?
Did you know we provide a specialist car transport delivery service just for you? We can collect your new vehicle purchase from another town or island in New Zealand and deliver it straight to your home.
No need to waste time and money on travelling, flying and driving – we can take care of that for you, and all from as little as $200! Want to know more? Check out our dedicated Car Transport Service page, Customer Reviews and everything else you need to know for a hassle-free and ultimate peace-of-mind car delivery service right to your door!
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