It isn’t what it looks like

The desire to own a status symbol car is still tempting drivers to overspend and to get into financial difficulties, Experian, the credit company, has found.

Men are twice as likely as women to try to impress friends and family with a newer or sportier model than they can comfortably budget for, leading to having to make economies elsewhere.

Kirk Fletcher, managing director of Experian’s automotive division, said: "The credit crunch is having a significant impact on consumer confidence across the UK, yet this survey highlights the fact that the consumer’s desire for a car that projects the right image remains as strong as ever.

"However, increasing debt leads to an increased risk of fraud. Recently there has been an increase in the number of stories in the media where people have attempted to sell their cars without settling the finance on them. It highlights the need for both businesses and consumers to be more cautious in their dealings. Outstanding finance is the biggest issue facing used car buyers and the only way to ensure they protect themselves is by checking out the status of the car before buying it."

The television programme ‘The Apprentice’ showed the candidates trying to sell time-hire luxury sport cars – maybe renting a prestige vehicle could be the solution for cash-strapped car drivers too.

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