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Car hunting in SA? Here’s why you should do your homework

2016-11-09 08:32

DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Ipsos provides much-needed insight into the 'owner experience' of a new vehicle. Image: Wheels24

Charlen Raymond

Cape Town - The 'owner experience' is critical when considering a new vehicle yet buyers often overlook this very important aspect.

Not only are knowing and following these experiences important but it also provides useful insights into how the motor industry operates and where consumers are more likely to find better customer experiences, reports Ipsos in its latest vehicle quality survey. 

With South Africa’s auto industry in decline, as is evident by new vehicle sales figures for October 2016, consumers need to consider all factors when purchasing their next vehicle. 

Staying afloat

When the numbers were tallied, fewer new vehicles were sold in October than the corresponding month in 2015. Both passenger cars and bakkie sales are dropping.

READ: These are SA's most common car problems: What's yours?

The state of the auto industry is particularly relevant for consumers searching for new vehicles. Consumers need to know what automakers are offering, what, if any, common problems they might experience with a vehicle.

Motorists will also need to know whether a potential new car will 1) maintain its value over the long-term and 2) how the monthly installments will affect their budget.

Owners’ experience

Patrick Busschau, Ipsos automotive business unit director, said: “For those looking for an accurate insight into the ownership experience offered by a certain vehicle, quality market research can provide the answer.”

Ipsos conducts research into the ownership experience of new vehicles and aftersales service that consumers can use as a reference.

READ: Are you driving one of these top quality cars, bakkies and SUVs in SA?

The latest report from Ipsos (for the period January 1 - December 31 2015), shows that, on average, 86 problems were reported for every 100 entry-level cars sold. Ipsos rates vehicle quality as 'problems per 100 units' (pp100).

Common problems

Common issues were problems with the window and bootlid, engine noise and performance, and the drive and braking.

Small sedans, on the other hand, had 73 complaints for every 100 cars, of which bootlid and vibrations, and performance and consumption were of the most common problems.

Both double- and single cab bakkies also reported problems, but petrol-driven bakkies had fewer issues than diesel, and single cab bakkies had fewer complaints than double cabs.

Volume vs. niche

When buying a more affordable vehicle, consumers run the risk of experiencing more problems/issues with their vehicles. This can be attributed to the fact that cars such as the Volkswagen Polo Vivo, Ford Fiesta and Toyota Corolla Quest are produced in high quantities and manufacturers are pushing to get as many new vehicles off the production lines as possible.

This is in contrast to vehicles at the higher end of the spectrum where more care and attention to detail are fundamental in producing the best possible vehicle. 

The Toyota Etios (entry-level car), for example, scored 72 pp100 opposed to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class’ (top executive) 35 pp100. Volume cars are more likely to receive more complaints because their production times are faster than that of more premium vehicles, which leaves more room for unforeseen problems to creep in.

Making a decision

Buying a new vehicle can be daunting, especially in SA where buyers are spoiled for choice. Ipsos therefore encourages the South African consumer to make use of the information it has gathered over the years to make a sound, well-informed decision on their next buy.

Busschau said: “Today’s buyer has an unprecedented choice of vehicle types, models and specifications from which to choose, which makes the task even more complex.

“It is for this reason that we, at Ipsos, urge potential buyers to make use of the data we have collected over a long period as a valuable source of information when car hunting.”

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