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Money Box Live: The Cost of Buying a Car

Louise Cooper looks at the finances of buying a car. New or used? Finance or cash? Electric or hybrid? What do we really need to know about payment plans and motoring costs?

Louise Cooper looks at the finances of buying a car. New or used? Finance or cash? Electric or hybrid? What do we really need to know about payment plans, motoring costs, and how to buy safely?

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported record sales of new cars in 2016, boosted they say by strong consumer confidence, low-interest finance deals and the launch of several new models. Fleet vehicles accounted for much of the increase with sales to consumers falling for three out of four quarters.

Consumer confidence might be boosting sales but around 86% of private buyers rely on finance agreements to make the purchase, over £18bn was advanced to consumers for new car purchases and a further £13bn for used cars last year say The Finance and Leasing Association. So how does car finance work and how easy is it to compare the actual price of a car with so many different offers, interest rates, deposits and final payments in the mix?

Could you be tempted by the grants and lower mileage costs of running an electric or a hybrid model? Sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles rose by 48.9% in February with 3,308 new registrations. If you've switched from petrol or diesel to a low emission car let us know how it compares.

And is it better to buy online, from a dealer or privately? How can you check the history of the car you want to buy?

Plenty to discuss with our motoring guests and of course you can join in by calling 03700 100 444 between 1pm and 3.30pm on Wednesday 29 March. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply. e-mails to moneybox@bbc.co.uk.

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