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What is a pre-reg car?

It’s a term you may have seen advertised online or heard at your local dealership, but what does it actually mean?

In a nutshell, a pre-reg (pre-registered) vehicle is a brand-new car with one registered previous owner (usually the dealer) added to the V5 document. The cars are usually delivered on the back of a transporter with very few miles on the clock, meaning you get a new car without paying the new car price tag.

There are other names these types of vehicles go by, so we hope this article helps you make sense of pre-reg vehicles, outlines the pros and cons, and makes your buying decision that much easier.

What other names are they called?

It can get quite confusing as different brands often call their pre-reg cars something different. Pre-reg is the most common but you may also see the term ‘delivery mileage’. This is more of an industry term but means the same thing – cars that only have delivery mileage on the clock. Something a little less black and white is the term ‘nearly new’. These will often be pre-reg cars but it’s worth checking with the dealer to clarify, as it could mean a used car with very low mileage.

The pros of buying a pre-reg:

  • Big savings: You’re getting a new car for a much cheaper price due to the car already having one owner.
  • No waiting for delivery: You can sometimes have to wait up to 9 months for your new car to be ready for handover. As the pre-reg car is already at the dealership, you can drive it away within a couple of days, or in some cases even the same day you buy it.
  • Spec/trim level: Pre-reg cars tend to be a good spec, with the most popular engines.
  • Warranty: You’ll get the balance of the manufacturer’s warranty, which could be up to 7 years.

The cons of buying a pre-reg:

  • It’s not new: It may look, feel, and drive like a brand-new car… but technically it’s second-hand as you’re the second name on the V5 document.
  • Options & extras: You can’t make any tweaks to the spec or add any factory-fitted extras unless these can be retrofitted by the dealer.
  • Warranty: Although it’s more than you’d get on a used car, the manufacturer’s warranty starts from when the car is registered with the dealership so it will be reduced depending on how long it’s been waiting for a buyer.

How many miles are on a pre-reg car?

Estimating an allowable delivery mileage is not an exact science, because amounts of use vary between different car dealerships and manufacturers.

A rule of thumb is that anything under 200 miles can be classed as an acceptable delivery mileage for a new car, allowing for pre-delivery testing and transportation from the shipping port or the factory, or between showrooms. The car is highly unlikely to have suffered any technical issues within this range – in fact, some components (such as certain types of brake discs) actually take 100 miles or more to tune up to optimum levels. Ford is slightly more generous with their estimate, allowing a maximum of 250 miles before delivery mileage can no longer be claimed.

In reality, many delivery mileage vehicles have covered far less distance, with anywhere between 10 and 50 miles being quite common for this type of purchase.

What is an ex-demo car?

Similar to a pre-registered car, an ex-demo (ex-demonstration) car will have one previous registered owner, likely to be a dealership. The dealership will have used the car both for display and test drive purposes, meaning it might have more miles on the clock. However, the car should also have been well maintained and is likely to include a host of top-spec features that the dealer has been showing off to prospective buyers.

How much can I save on a pre-reg car?

The most significant benefit of buying a pre-reg car is clearly the price. For the build-up of fewer than 200 miles on the odometer (undertaken by a professional delivery driver), new car buyers could save anywhere from 10% - 40% on the retail price. Depending on your preferred finance method, a pre-reg car could lower your deposit and reduce your monthly repayment costs significantly.

Delivery mileage cars also give you plenty of choices whilst letting you drive away essentially a new car more quickly. Leading dealerships with local branches nationwide will keep a range of delivery mileage cars in stock at any given time. This gives you the chance to either find your preferred spec or pick from a selection of well-specified cars that were chosen by the dealership.

When is the best time to buy a pre-reg car?

Dealerships will usually pre-register cars towards the end of the new registration months (March and September), so if you’re shopping for a bargain then looking for pre-reg cars at these times of year is likely to be your best bet. That being said, there will usually be pre-reg options available throughout the year, just not with quite as much stock to choose from.

If you’re on the lookout for more expert advice on purchasing a pre-reg car, why not call on the friendly team at your local Perrys dealership today?

Written by Perrys | 5 min read
15 Jun 2020