Buying an executive car in 2024 can be challenging. A ZEV mandate on the sale of new cars is forcing manufacturers to ensure that more than a fifth of new cars sold in the UK are zero emission. In order to fulfil this obligation car companies are increasing the cost of internal combustion engine cars. This typically means a new car is considerably more expensive than it was five-years ago. To top it off, companies like Mercedes-Benz have gone from dealership models to agencies. This removes the opportunity to negotiate discounts. We still need to replace our cars though.

After waiting patiently for the latest Mercedes E Class to go on sale, I took a test drive in the new E220d. It was a nice car but sadly, not as good as I was hoping. In addition, the car is crazy expensive! At £68k, it is 50% more expensive than buying pre-covid. This level of investment represents a four-year financial commitment for DrivenByQ and I am reluctant to tie-up such funds. In the space of four-years, many things can change in an economy. It could prove an expensive mistake if demand for travel drops off quickly or newer (less expensive) technology emerges.

Buying A Used Executive Car In 2024

The Covid era and micro-chip shortage equates to a current lack of supply in three year-old cars. The rise in clean air zones and company car incentives has influenced buyers too. An increase in the sale of electric vehicles mean there are fewer internal combustion powered cars in the used car market. With inflation increases, banks have raised their interest rates. This pushes finance costs higher and results in diesel vehicles being a lot more costly to purchase overall. It limits the choice of what is available too. It doesn’t mean we should rule this option out though.

There are few tax allowances or incentives encouraging us to buy a brand-new, diesel-powered car. We can however, claim the higher cost of repairs and servicing on a used car against our corporation tax. It makes a used car more attractive to purchase from an accounting point of view. Spending less capital on a vehicle results in a shorter-term financial commitment as well. This ultimately gives us greater decision making ability in a year or two when things might change. For anyone who doesn’t know, we are about to experience a flood of new Chinese electric cars in the UK which could spark a price war.

The Used Car Market

Buying used is not like it used to be. Prices are high – owing to the aforementioned lack of supply. One saving grace is that, while smaller cars are still rising in price, executive car prices are falling (slightly). This could be due to consumers tightening their belts and/or the influence of car supermarkets. Many of the online retailers are following Tesla’s model of selling with no human interaction. The issue is the supermarkets buy such large volumes of stock, their own demand drives up the overall market price. Cazoo is one such retailer but, their share price tells a story. It fell from $24,000 in 2020 to under $4 in 2024.

A similar situation occurred in the US with a company called Carvana. Their model gave consumers convenience, but quality issues arose. At the same time, they were buying so much stock, they systematically drove up prices to unsustainable levels. At the point of market implosion and price collapse, those retailers are left holding the biggest (and most expensive) inventory at the worst possible time. A similar collapse in the UK used car market could follow suit and the reduction in executive car prices could be an early indicator. Buying an executive car in 2024 is certainly not without risk.

The EV Disruptors

An advantage of buying a used car and committing to a shorter term financial consideration, is the ability to alter course quicker. This is crucial if we swish to adopt new electric vehicle technology as it emerges. While many people are currently moving away from new EV purchases, it is actually an exciting time. With BYD and CATL agreeing a new deal for solid state batteries (which could be available in 2025) the capability and range of EVs is at a conjuncture. Despite a lot of bad press and negative sentiment towards the charging infrastructure, a new paradigm is emerging. We are on the cusp of a shift change in the way energy is produced.

The development and cost reduction in solar power is rapidly improving. This is a major factor when considering the realistic potential of EVs. As I found in 2023 with the Genesis G80, EVs can be cheap IF charging them at home on a competitive tariff. I believe solar power is about to revolutionise this in the next five years. We won’t need the national grid to radically change if many people can start to produce their own electricity at home. At the same time, if battery technology updates increase battery range and improve cold weather performance, there will be a critical point when internal combustion becomes redundant.

Seeing The Future Of Power Production

For many people, the range anxiety associated with electric vehicles holds them back from adopting new technology. Hoping life will revert to us all owning internal combustion engines in my belief is futile. It reminds me of a time when laptop computers were new and the processor speeds were constantly evolving: A one-year old device was quickly superseded by the evolution of a newer processor. Well, just maybe, electric vehicles and their battery technology are about to enter a similar phase. My conclusion is: buying an Executive Car in 2024 doesn’t need to be a challenge. It just needs a wealth of information, a positive attitude and some very thorough research.