Range Rover price crash

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A Range Rover SVR going cheap? Surely not... : credit: © JLR
Tom believes it's the right time to bag a bargain

A chap I know from my village is a high-end car dealer, and as I walk the dog past his house I always have a peek to see what is on his drive. His wife is partial to a Land Rover, so inevitably there is something interesting to look at. This week it’s a satin-black new Defender and a Range Rover Sport SVR.

As his wife doesn’t like “having to swap all her stuff” between her cars too often, it’s not unusual that the bling Defender has been lingering around for a few weeks, but the Sport has been around longer than usual too. So, when I spotted him nursing a pint at the local, I asked him about it. His sullen look suggested it was a topic he’d been trying to forget.

It turns out that he had bought the SVR as a knee-jerk reaction to a bad experience he’d had with a trio of Teslas. He’d acquired the electric cars as a job lot from a leasing company just as the bottom fell out of the market. With the price plummeting every day he sold them to the highest bidder and lost over £20k on the deal in two weeks.

He swore that he’d never buy a Tesla again and went to the other extreme with the SVR: his “antidote to electric cars.” Just as he did, the price of those crashed too.

He explained that he’d bought the two-year-old, 30,000-mile car for £60,000 and thought it was a bargain since it had been nearly double that when new. He ran it for a couple of weeks, had a couple of issues sorted and then tried to sell it, starting at £75,000 and then slowly chopping the money off as he watched the other prices tumble on the classified sites.

Finally, he asked the traders in his little black book for bids to get rid. The highest offer he had? £35,000…

That seems ridiculously cheap, but even the guys he plays golf with who thought it seemed like a bargain backed away when they mentioned it to their insurance brokers. It seems the constant thefts, inability to get parts for repairs and a couple of high-profile claims involving Range Rover fires have narrowed down the number of companies willing to cover cars like the SVR and made them uninsurable in some areas.

Rather than stomach the loss, my trader chum has decided to keep the car until ‘things calm down’. That’s no hardship, he says, but he’s having to ‘flip a few Corsas’ for a few months as penance – and to pay the finance.

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L322s may also be susceptible

It’s little consolation to him, but this slump in the market for Range Rovers isn’t just relegated to the top end of the market. As the prices have fallen there are more potential buyers like me who think the time might be right to pick up a bargain and a car that they’ve always dreamed of. The values of L322s are around half the level they were two years ago, with a 2011 4.4-litre TDV8 with 94,000 miles costing less than £8000 at auction.

Go a little older to 2007 and up the miles to above 100,000 and the price goes down to £2500. That’s enough to have anyone reaching for the bid button – until you get an insurance quote which is almost that amount again. Add in the £630 road tax and the spectre of a £4000 bills for ‘service’ items like turbos and you can see why buyers scuttle back to their Qashqais.

The ultimate demonstration of this comes from another trader who has a workshop alongside his sales operation. He tells me he has two L322 Range Rovers and a Discovery 3 in stock which were dropped off for servicing work. When presented with estimates for the bits and pieces needed to get them through the MoT or a cambelt change, the customers have just told him to keep the car. The shock of the accumulated insurance, tax and servicing bills at the same time every year can be too much to bear.

There is an upside to all this doom though. If you live in an area with low car crime and have a squeaky-clean licence, the insurance isn’t such an issue. The prices of these models means that there are plenty being broken up for parts too, making second-hand bits cheap if you are handy with the spanners. And if it all goes wrong you’ve only spent £2500 and the car is worth £750 to the scrap man.

Which just leaves the problem of the pricey road tax. I’d say the extra £30 a month for driving a Range Rover over something more tedious is worth every penny. It’s a shame the old ‘tax in post’ excuse doesn’t work these days.

 

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