This is the third part of a series of posts on buying a car or camper van in New Zealand. In this article, I’m writing about buying from local car dealers who specialise in the backpacker and visitor market.
How it works
Auckland and Christchurch both have car dealerships that specialise on the backpacker or tourist market. They may be outfits where the car dealer sells used cars after buying them off travellers or locals, or where a space on the lot is rented out to travellers for a few days or weeks for them to sell their car directly on to other travellers. Examples of such places are:
Upon arrival in Auckland or Christchurch, visit the local iSites. They can provide you with a sheet of paper with all the necessary information on where to buy or sell your car in the respective city.
The good and the bad
The advantages of these specialised car dealerships are that you will find plenty of cars and vans tailored to the needs of backpackers and travellers, sometimes complete with camping equipment, matresses and roadmaps. You can just go there during business hours, talk directly to the owner of the car, inspect the car or van right away, and be less concerned with sales strategies of professional car dealers. In price negotiations, make sure you use the seller’s time constraints to your advantage: the seller is probably very eager to get rid of their vehicle before their date of departure!
On the downside, bear in mind that old backpacker cars and vans have probably been around the country a few times already. Have it inspected by a mechanic (see the yellow pages for that) if you need before you make up your mind.
What to check when buying a car
Additionally, get smart before you go to see cars – learn about the most important things to check when buying a car and have a checklist with you when you go. See here for a good checklist from Consumer NZ as a starter for ten.