If you’re in the market for a new car, you may be torn between the decision to go for a unregistered, or a pre-registered new car.
Both options present you with a new, un-used car, but each option does have its advantages and disadvantages, so carwow is here to explain a few of the pros and cons.
With unregistered cars you are the first owner, these cars are either a factory order (where you build the car exactly how you want it) or can be for a car that the dealer is getting in stock, that’s on its way from the factory or just arrived on their forecourt.
You’ll have heard it again and again, but a new car is likely to be the second-most expensive purchase in your life. That being the case, why settle for less?
That’s essentially the best reason to go for an unregistered car. There’s no compromise. Your car will have come straight from the factory, having been lovingly crafted to your own specifications if you chose a factory order. That means a paint colour of your choosing, all the right options, and an odometer reading as close to zero as you’ll ever see. Wonderful.
It’s not perfect, though. Firstly, you will have to wait. Cars are churned out pretty quickly these days, but it may still take a few months to get exactly the car you want. You also don’t get to see your exact car until it lands in the dealership or on your doorstep, so if you’ve chosen Bahama Bronze paint from the brochure but it arrives looking poo-brown, the opportunity to change your order has passed.
Last of all, it’s more expensive than going pre-reg, as we’ll discuss below. But if you can afford it, it’s probably worth it.
What are they?
Pre-registered cars are new cars that the dealer has registered to themselves, meaning they are listed as the first owner. They normally only have delivery mileage on them, but some may have a couple of hundred miles if the dealer has been using them.
Why do dealers pre-register cars?
Some assume that pre-registered cars have been “previously enjoyed”, but often that isn’t the case. When a dealer needs to meet their quota for a month or year, they may register a bunch of cars on order and then sell them cheaply. So their name will appear on the V5C registration certificate as the first owner.
What are the benefits?
The first advantage to going pre-reg is cost. The dealer has taken a bit of a hit to get the product shifted (think of it like an end-of-season sale in a clothes shop), meaning you reap the benefits for a brand new car.
You also get the car there and then. Once the money is sorted, the car is essentially yours. There’s no wait for the factory, no wait for delivery - just a brand new car, ready to use.
What are the downsides?
If you buy a pre-reg car then you are the second owner, so it may be worth less when you sell it on.
There’s less choice in the matter. Unless you’re lucky enough to happen on the car of your dreams in just the right spec, you’re resigned to buying whatever the dealer (or previous owner, for a cancelled order) chose. The downsides are it may be impossible to find the perfect colour, or a car with the options you want.
Finding a pre-registered (or unregistered) car online is hard too, there are a few on the likes of motors.co.uk and other classifieds sites, but there’s not many listed on the internet, meaning you’ll have to make a few trips to different dealerships to find out what’s available.
And to continue the clothing metaphor, some buyers just can’t be seen with last season’s registration plate - which is what you’ll usually have to put up with.
The warranty may also have less time left. The warranty period begins when the car is registered. So if the car was registered 6 months ago, and has a 3 year warranty, it means the warranty will only be valid for 2.5 years.
Which to go for?
Ultimately, that’s your decision. Provided you understand that a factory-fresh car in your own detailed specification is going to be a longer, more expensive process than going pre-reg, it’s the one to go for.
And bargain-hunters will love the pre-reg option. Provided the car’s spec is at least half-decent, you’ll also lose out less when you eventually come to sell it, since you didn’t pay full whack in the first place.