Young drivers rely on bank of mum and dad for pricier first cars

Toy cars with gold coins and on top of money.

According to new research, the average price of a new driver’s first car has hit more than £6,500, leading to young drivers relying on their parents to help fund their first car.

The bank of mum and dad is seeing more visitors as almost half of under-25s are turning to their parents to help get them on the roads once they’ve passed their test, with 48% getting some financial assistance to buy their first car.

Parents paid the full price of their child’s first set of two wheels in 16% of cases, forking out £10,000 or more in one in 10 instances.

The figures came from used car marketplace Cinch, showing that the cost of drivers’ first cars is also higher than ever, with an average price of £6,600 in 2022. This was partly due to 47% of image-conscious under-25s opting for a car that’s one year old or newer.

Those who purchased their first car between 2010 and 2017 paid an average of £4,173, which is much higher than the current average. A first car cost, on average, £3,090 in the 2000s.

The survey suggests that many young motorists receive indirect help from their parents as well, including the savings made by still living in the family home rather than owning or renting their own place.

The survey revealed that 67% (more than two thirds) of those aged under 30 who spent £10k or more on their first car said they still lived at home with their parents. The savings appear to be a key factor in that decision for many. When deciding what was more important, having a nice car or living by themselves, over a third of drivers under 30 (36%) said they’d prefer to have a nice car and live with their parents than living independently and having a cheap runaround.

To afford a more expensive first car, many young adults are using payment plans to afford it. According to the study, 14% of people under the age of 25 who purchased their first car in the previous year did so with financing, paying an average of £230 a month, although 14% paid more than £400.

Today’s new drivers are also prioritising high-tech features that were previously unheard of in cars in their parent’s youth. Around 18% expect heated seats and more than a fifth (22%) expect a touchscreen display. One in ten (9%) expect their car to be able to park itself.

Motoring expert at Cinch, Sam Sheehan, said: “More than ever, first time drivers are stepping into nearly-new cars – with the average age of the first car now standing at just four years old. Younger people today are more image-conscious than ever before, with social media likely playing a role.

“As such, many want a newer, more aspirational car that they can show off. The bank of mum and dad is definitely playing a role, but the data also shows that many drivers in their early 20s are prepared to spend a lot of their own money on a car. The availability of affordable monthly payment plans makes owning a nice car more achievable for younger drivers.”

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