/ Motoring, Shopping

Will seasonal car buying take off in the UK?

Convertible graphic under sun

Seasonal car buying has never really been an option in the UK, mainly due to our climate merging into one prolonged spell of dreariness. Yet, recent snowy weather boosted 4×4 sales – will convertibles follow this summer?

The departing winter forced Britain’s first real case of seasonal buying, with many opting to invest in off-road cars to tackle the snowy period. Figures showed a growth in the sale of SUVs and 4X4s last December, no doubt due to our transport system crumbling to a standstill under multiple inches of intense snowfall.

Off-road car purchases spiked in both new and used markets, which ultimately pushed prices higher than average. So as our climate grows more extreme, could seasonal car buying make further inroads in Brtain?

Convertible sales up in summer?

Some of you may think I’ve lost the plot altogether by arguing that car sales could be inspired by the seasons. It’s somewhat inconceivable to think car dealerships will be congested with buyers snapping up convertibles due to extreme heat this summer.

But maybe this could be a gradual change in car buying trends? Many already wait until a new registration plate comes out (like the new ’11’ plate on March 1) before buying a car. So it’s not a massive change in car buying psychology to opt for a seasonal purchase.

And news from Glass’s says that used convertible prices already rise as summer edges closer. According to its figures, the average auction price for a mainstream convertible, like the Mazda MX-5 or Peugeot 207 CC, was £6,900 in January 2010. But by April this rose to £8,000 – a 16% increase in just one quarter.

And convertible prices drop again by the time August rolls in, so if that’s not evidence for seasonal car buying, I don’t know what is.

A case of practicality over convenience?

But the big question for me is whether seasonal buying is due to practicality or convenience.

If you bought a 4×4 in December, you did it to get to work, the shops, or to generally keep up with the endeavours of everyday life. I think it’s fair to say owning a convertible in the summer has no practical benefits, other than keeping you cool without needing to turn on the air-con.

Plus, higher prices during different months could simply be due to used car retailers and dealers inflating them, rather than being evidence for a drastic rise in the number of cars sold.

But you tell me – have you ever bought a convertible in the summer, or a 4×4 in the winter? Or maybe you think seasonal car buying will never get out of first gear in the UK?


Had a 4×4, loved it at first, high driving position make you feel more safe etc.etc. Then realised what a thirsty beast it was (even a diesel) and not really any more practical than an estate car 90% of the time.
Then came the snow, I though because I’ve got a 4×4 I can go anywhere but then realised that even with only a two wheel drive “ordinary” car “going” wasn’t really the problem most of the time, it was stopping and two wheel drive or 4×4 once the wheels lock you slide just the same.
So all in all I think they are a bit over rated and in the main unnecessary.
You might say you got one for it’s practicality and abilities in ice and snow but really you were just a big kid after a “tonka toy”. I know I’ve been there.

Yet another piece of marketing hype. A 4 x 4 is not the answer to Winter snow. Decent winter tyres – even on a 4 x 4 – are an absolute necessity. The right cold-weather tyres and perhaps snow socks for an emergency will save you THOUSANDS of pounds buying over-priced fashion accessories that guzzle fuel like there’s no tomorrow. You also need to know how to drive in snow!

Get a second set of wheels with winter tyre and help your wealth.