Thinking ahead to your child’s first car?

Are your children approaching the age where they can drive? Do you intend to help them out when the time comes?

Research into the degree to which parents support children financially when it comes to cars

Generous British parents spend an average of £3,410 – on their child’s first car, according to research.

A study of 2,000 mums and dads of 16-21-year-olds found one in six ‘helped’ their offspring to pay for their first vehicle, contributing an average of 45 per cent of the total cost.

A very lucky 16 per cent of youngsters had their parents pay the full amount.

The survey, commissioned by Parkers.co.uk, also revealed 44 per cent of parents help with the cost of their child’s car insurance, which can be a huge amount of money. I remember when I got my first car back in 1997 my insurance was £600 for the first year.

One quarter will also pay the road tax while a fifth even contribute towards petrol and diesel. It also emerged London parents put the most towards their children’s car – parting with £4,351.

Mums and dads in the south west part with £2,678 on average while the typical spend in the North East was £3,365.

Around 414,000 British youngsters aged 21 or under passed their driving between April 2018 and March 2019, according to the DVLA, meaning parents could be spending a combined £340 million per year on kids’ first cars.

Keith Adams, editor of Parkers.co.uk, said: “The research shows just how much is spent on new cars for first time drivers.“It’s amazing to see just what parents are prepared to spend on their children so they can experience the independence of driving. Parents obviously want their kids to be safe when out on the roads alone so we know researching for the perfect first-time vehicle is a lengthy and often confusing process. A first car is something we all remember – from the colour to its maker – and is likely to affect the car choices we make in the future.”

The study also found 77 per cent of those with more than one child said they plan to help them all equally with buying their first cars – not an easy task. One quarter of parents plan to pay for their children’s car in full when they learn to drive.

Although one in 10 said they would prefer to pay their child’s car off monthly rather than buy it outright, and would be prepared to pay up to £138 a month.

More than one quarter of parents who bought or contributed to their child’s car said it’s a parent’s ‘duty’ to help out, while others did it to give the youngsters their own ‘independence’ – but almost half know their child can’t afford their own car while 24 per cent said they’re helping out because the youngster ‘deserves it’.

One sixth of parents even bought their child’s vehicle before they could drive so that they could use it to learn. Times have clearly changed though, as 54 per cent of parents didn’t have any help from their mum and dad when buying their first car.

It also emerged eight in 10 of children’s first vehicles were used, with the average being nine years old when they bought it. 42 per cent of parents who helped out set a budget beforehand, while one quarter researched which models are most suitable for new drivers.

However one eighth of those polled admitted they do not plan to help their child buy their first car in any way, with the top reason being because they can’t afford it. One third want to encourage their youngster to make their own decisions about money and four in 10 believe children need to learn to save for the things they want.

A further one tenth feel that if parents buy their child’s first vehicle it won’t teach them to save, but an opposing 32 per cent said parents should help with ‘large expenses’.

Almost half of all parents surveyed via OnePoll contributed to their kid’s driving lessons and more than one third paid for every lesson.

Your experience

Did your parents help you with driving lessons and your first car? I had driving lessons for my 17th birthday and then my parents paid half of my first car. I paid the rest from money I’d saved from working part time at weekends and in the school holidays.

My parents paid the first year of my car insurance and tax and I paid for it myself after that. I couldn’t have had a car without my parents help. They recognised the importance of me getting around and it meant that they didn’t have to take me to and from various things or pay school bus fees for my final year and a half in school.

Parkers.co.uk’s top five first cars for around £3,400

1) Fiat 500 2012 – cool image, cheap to buy and run, the perfect first car

2) MINI One 2010 – BMW quality, great to drive, lots of choices available

3) Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 2014 – safe, solid, you probably learned to drive in one – and great value

4) Ford Fiesta 1.25 2013 – a great car to drive, lots of dealers, cheap to run

5) Skoda Citigo 2014 – excellent engine, based on the Volkswagen Up, fantastic fuel consumption

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