/ Motoring, Shopping

Would you buy a car from Tesco?

Supermarket trolley with cars

The used car salesman’s worst nightmare has finally come true – Tesco has started selling cars. The supermarket giant got into the business earlier this week, but do you want to buy a car from Tesco?

After announcing the launch of tescocars.com, it wasn’t long until Tesco followed it up with its car servicing arm, tescoautocentres.com. So now you can buy, run, insure and finance your car through Tesco, as well as keeping it ship shape with new tyres (from tesco-tyres.com). But is Tesco’s motoring march a good thing?

Worth the Clubcard points?

Significantly, both new ventures are online-only and run in co-operation with partners already in the trade – Carsite and the National Service Network group.

So if you want your motor fixed, Tesco will pick it up and take it to the nearest garage. But if you’re buying a car, Tesco won’t let you test drive it. Instead you’ll have to be content with watching a video of it online. Why? Tesco says that by doing away with showrooms and salesmen, it can make prices cheaper than its competitors.

And since you’re buying online, don’t forget that you’ll have more rights than when buying off a forecourt – under the Distance Selling Regulations you have a cooling-off period of seven-working days when buying off the net, meaning you can return your Tesco-bought car and get your money back, no questions asked.

On top of that, one of the main benefits being sold to customers is the lure of thousands of Clubcard points – something that might prove tempting to potential buyers.

Used car trade needs a wake-up call

Tesco’s actually taking quite a risk by getting into the used motor trade. It’s the UK’s most complained-about industry – in fact, Tesco’s launch came just days after the Office of Fair Trading rapped the knuckles of webuyanycar.com for misleading customers.

However, with the used car trade struggling to shrug off its image as unreliable and untrustworthy, a big name like Tesco could be what’s needed to get others to raise their game.

Still, would you buy a car off the net without being able to take it for a test drive? And would you even consider buying a motor from a supermarket giant like Tesco?

Sybilmari says:
6 April 2011

I won’t buy ANYTHING from Tesco.


The costs of running a dealership, including the provision of demonstrator cars, must be passed on to the customer, so it is cheaper to buy online. There are plenty of ways of finding out about cars without test driving them.

I detest the idea of haggling, so for this reason and because of the lower prices, I will probably buy my next car online. The thought of paying thousands of pounds to a company that I have never heard of is very worrying. I might consider buying from Tesco, a familiar company that I have so many reasons to hate.


I’ve changed my mind after realising that tescocars.com sell only used cars. I would rather buy a new car and keep it for ten years. I don’t want to risk buying a car that has been abused and could prove unreliable, and that has nothing to do with Tesco.


Yes, I would consider it.

If you want to test drive then just go to a registered dealer.

I don’t like the food at tesco, but for all other things you can get elsewhere, I don’t think they can be beat. But that’s probably due to the aggressive negotiating that they do with suppliers.

I once worked for someone who were actually paying for tesco to be their customer because of the “prestige” associated with it.

It just means they are very good at squeezing the margins


OK just checked it, pretty poor to be honest.

They are all mostly high milers bought from ex-contract hire. Yes they are “RAC approved” but when a car has that many miles on the clock, I need to try it for myself.

It’s just like a tesco version of Carshaft, sorry Carcraft 🙂

Beware of those finance deals…..

Zoe says:
7 April 2011

How long before Tesco starts selling supermarkets? They appear to be shunting their way into every other area of life.


Haha, this comment made me laugh – Tesco do seem to be expanding into quite a few new areas. We did a convo on their Cash for Gold plans a while ago, so perhaps used cars isn’t quite so odd. Zoe – your comment reminded me of a comedy show that aired a while ago where they imagined a Tesco so powerful it went to war with Denmark…

Fat Sam, Glos says:
7 April 2011

I have no probs buying from anything from Tesco. If it’s competitively priced then surely only we can be winners? It’s up to the rest of the market to catch up and provide that level of service for that price.

When I’m shopping for groceries, I don’t expect a gold level of service – it’s just my weekly shop! Surely Carte Noir, Carlsberg and Warburtons bread is the same in every store? But if it’s cheaper overall in Tesco then why would you pay more elsewhere for exactly the same product? And in my experience, most of their own brands aren’t too bad though it pays to check the labels for ingredients and nutritional value (often much better than expensive branded products). Trial and error, trial and error.

And all those points add up – free Eurotunnel again, and again for the foreseeable future, not to mention almost limitless free blu-ray movie rentals from Blockbusters, etc…

I’d actually like Tesco to go into the estate agency business. It might give some of our long-standing agents a good kick up the back side!

But that’s me and my background is business – I go for value for money. Stuff principles for your weekly shop. Make it work for you.

Jeff says:
7 April 2011

Will they be making the usual offers?:

Buy one get one half price
Buy one get one free
Buy three – pay for two