experience

5 Things That Suck When it’s Time to Buy a New Car

Shafiqah Hamdan

Shafiqah Hamdan

2019-11-14

Shopping is fun. No matter who you are, the excitement of getting something new never gets old — especially if it’s a car.

This should be a cause for celebration, buying the freedom to go anywhere and do anything (and enjoying the addictive new car smell) but unfortunately, it also isn’t the most straightforward process.

For those of you who have bought a car or a few in your lives, you may have experienced some or all of these pain points before. We apologise in advance if this brings back bad memories or triggers some form of PTSD

1. Down-pain-ment

This is technically the first step in getting your next car, but the most painful of all. In Malaysia, 100 percent loans are illegal and the minimum downpayment required for a hire purchase loan on a car is 10 percent. Given car prices in Malaysia, this is going to start on the business end of four figures and work its way painfully upwards.

Operating leases are one way around downpayment, however some programs tend to craftily bake this into the monthly payments. The only upside is that the downpayment has now been spread out as opposed to having to be paid upfront. Either way, you have to take care of it somehow.

2. It's Just Not the Same

You like M&M’s. Especially the red ones. Someone hands you a bowl of yellow M&M’s. You eat them grudgingly. Imagine this, but eating the same bowl of yellow M&M’s for seven to nine years.

Now imagine you need a new car badly, and you’ve found the perfect one. Unfortunately, there’s a long waiting list to get it in the colour that you want. Out of desperation, you choose one they have available. Car manufacturers almost always release “hero” colours on their cars, Soul Red for Mazda and Cavansite Blue on a sleek new Mercedes-Benz S-Class for example.

They look amazing, but unless you have the means and time to wait, they will most probably be out of your reach and patience.

3. Thank You, Next

Before the launch of a new model, dealerships will be desperately clearing old stock — right into your unsuspecting driveway.

Granted however that these days, the grapevine is efficient and you will probably know through your favourite online portal that a new model or facelift is imminent. As such, there is usually an attractive discount slapped on the sticker price of that car you have your eye on.

However, if this intelligence should either be unavailable or slip by, you will have purchased a car that will immediately devalue due to becoming obsolete.

4. The Grass Is Always Greener

Every salesperson has a target to hit. This means that it is in their best interest to sell you something immediately.

The issue here is that you may not be making the most well-informed decision. And there is really no way to know, unlike Sucky Thing No 3 above, the minstrels of automotive news will not be able to predict the next discount/promotion/offer/extended warranty/free umbrella.

In terms of one-off discounts, you could enquire but do you really have the time to visit showrooms and spark a bidding war between rival sales advisors for your downpayment?

5. The Nails That Sticks Out Gets Hammered

Uniqueness is beautiful. With cars being an extension of one’s identity, most of us would like to stand out from the crowd. Most of us would then be asking for trouble.

A relative of this editor completely eschewed the usual Japanese suspects in favour of a left-field choice, for individuality of course, and regretted it terribly down the road. Here are the ingredients to automotive frustration: residing outside the Klang Valley (reduced network coverage) and low sales (low spare parts availability). In the end, she willingly discarded her manufacturer’s warranty just to get a major service done at an independent workshop.

So, in essence, these things well and truly suck. But they’re a necessary part of the car buying process. But what if you tried another way? With a car subscription, there is no hire purchase loan. Inspections are done before the car is given to you, so you can subscribe with confidence.

Don’t worry about dubious usage history, because each car comes with the assurance of a clean bill of ownership and legal use. Simply end your subscription and start a new one with a different car, or do a temporary switch — which is allowed by Flux. And forget downpayment altogether, pay monthly with no hidden charges.

If you have anything to add to this list, let us know in the responses below and check out Flux to see just how much a car subscription doesn’t suck compared to selling your old car for a new one.

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