You often see pre-registered and ex-demonstrator cars advertised and they seem like a good deal in comparison to buying the same car ‘new’. However, what are pre-registered cars and why do they make such excellent bargains? Here is our guide on them.

What is a pre-registered car?

These are cars that dealerships buy and register in their name before displaying them on the forecourt. This means that they are technically the first owner, so you’re buying a used car with just a few miles on the clock, making it cheaper than a ‘new’ car.

So why would a dealer do this? Most dealerships and its employees will have targets to hit, so this is a way to manage them and sell more cars. It also allows the manufacturer to report extra sales.

The buyer gets a car that is brand-new but with a sizeable discount because they’re not the first owner.

Another bonus to buying a pre-registered car is that you will normally be able to get a well-specced car for similar money to a much lesser trim level if you were buying brand-new, meaning you get more bang for your buck.

A downside with this is that you only have a selection of the cars on the forecourt – what you see is what you can choose from, so there is no choice in the exact specification and you may have to compromise on the odd thing. However, the savings could be worth it.

What is an ex-demonstrator?

Ex-demonstrators are often seen for sale and seem very well-priced. These are the cars a dealership will use to show customers and do test drives. Ok, so they might have a few thousand miles on the clock, but they make superb used car bargains.

For a start it is a demonstrator vehicle so will usually have a lot of optional extras so that customers can see them in action. This means you not only get a car that has been maintained without question, you also get a car with all the kit, such as nicer alloy wheels, the leather interior or panoramic sunroof.

What is also very beneficial is that there will be plenty of choice. Dealerships tend to put the demonstrators up for sale fairly quickly so as not to devalue the car with too many miles. The main reason they make such good buys is because you get a top specification car for base level money.

Top tips

Firstly, shop around. There are thousands of cars out there and finding the right one takes some research, and sometimes it’s worth travelling that extra mile to get the best deal.

Secondly always check who the car is registered to and make sure nobody else has owned the car in between and the dealer is trying to pass it off as almost new.

Finally, check the mileage and condition. If the car has a higher mileage than you expect, ask why. Normally dealers won’t want to hold on to demonstrators for too long.

Check the bodywork for blemishes or dents. The last thing you want to do is drive home and then notice the bumper is a different shade to the rest of the car.