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Question for UK residents

Old 08-12-2005, 11:22 PM
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Question for UK residents

I'm an American, currently living in LA -- job might be offering a transfer to London at the beginning of next year. If anyone has a few minutes to just give a brief overview of car buying/leasing in the UK that would be excellent. It's my impression that you guys don't have the kind of central credit reporting we do here in the States. How do you qualify for a car? Is leasing common? What is a reasonable price for leasing? What kind of interest rate is reasonable? What's a reasonable price for insurance? et cetera plus just your general advice for a Yank moving to London.

We probably would not buy an 8 but would get a Mazda3/6 or some kind of similar saloon, more typically using public transport since the office would be located in central London. Here in LA of course public transportation is a joke, so we have two cars (an 8 and a Ford Escape compact SUV).
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Old 08-17-2005, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by twisty7867
I'm an American, currently living in LA -- job might be offering a transfer to London at the beginning of next year. If anyone has a few minutes to just give a brief overview of car buying/leasing in the UK that would be excellent. It's my impression that you guys don't have the kind of central credit reporting we do here in the States. How do you qualify for a car? Is leasing common? What is a reasonable price for leasing? What kind of interest rate is reasonable? What's a reasonable price for insurance? et cetera plus just your general advice for a Yank moving to London.

We probably would not buy an 8 but would get a Mazda3/6 or some kind of similar saloon, more typically using public transport since the office would be located in central London. Here in LA of course public transportation is a joke, so we have two cars (an 8 and a Ford Escape compact SUV).
In the UK we have a few credit reporting agencies such as experian. These companies only hold data on UK citizens. As a US citizen you will have some difficulty getting credit in the UK, as any lender will be worried you might leave the country with their cash. You will be best trying to secure finance from the US prior to leaving (It is a bit different here as a car loan is not secured against the car - we don't have liens listed on the title documents. Car loans are unsecured)

Leasing is not that common, but is available. But again you will struggle to get accepted without a UK credit rating. Our interest rates are higher than yours, (Bank of england base rate is 4.5%). A normal car loan runs ar about 8% (but again you won't get one here.....)

Cars are quite a bit more money to buy in the UK, but usually have a higher base spec than in the US. (a UK 8 starts at 20k but is quite well loaded)

Gasoline prices will scare the crap out of you here. We pay 90pence per litre, which is over $6 per US gallon. So we tend to drive smaller cars. (Plus our roads have bends in them so you need a car that can turn corners)

Insurance rates in the UK are quite a bit lower that in the US, but again you will suffer because you are not a uk citizen, and have no uk insurance history (we get discounts for each year we don't crash into anything)

In central london you will not want to use a car (too busy, nowhere to park, risk of damage etc), and public transport is excellent. I would recommend not buying a car, and instead just rent one when you want to leave the city.
You should be able to rent a car for a weekend for about 70 - 100 inclusive.

Sorry I can't be more positive about it all !

Having done it the other way (lived in Virginia for a year), I know how much of a penalty it can be for being a foreigner buying and insuring a car.
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Old 08-19-2005, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jimbobjoe
In central london you will not want to use a car (too busy, nowhere to park, risk of damage etc), and public transport is excellent. I would recommend not buying a car, and instead just rent one when you want to leave the city.
You should be able to rent a car for a weekend for about 70 - 100 inclusive.
I'd agree with this recommendation not to buy a car if you are based in London. If you want some fun you can hire an 8 for the weekend for 275 from Guy Salmon.
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Old 08-21-2005, 10:34 AM
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I have to say that from what I have heard from collegues who have worked in the UK its not so bad. So long as you can prove your credit rating and insurance history you will OK.

Andrew
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Old 08-28-2005, 03:15 PM
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Just to add to JimBob's comments, Leasing is possible, but usually its only things like company cars that are leased. Most manufacturers will do the 2 year lease, where you pay back about half the cost of the car in the 2 years, then can either pay the remainder or part ex for another. (Usually on a fixed amount for part ex that is set out at the start)

If you are going to be living in London, I'd agree that other than escaping at the weekend, a car is not needed. Everywhere is within walking distance of the underground, or bus routes etc

Insurance, depends on age and 'no claims bonus' for example I'm 31, been driving since 17, maximum no claims bonus (65%) and pay 600 a year (thats with mods listed on the insurance)
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