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Worried about expensive car repairs? Here are some of the cheapest vehicles to service and fix in SA - Kinsey Report

2019-06-27 12:36

Lance Branquinho

2018 Datsun Go

Image: Calvin Fisher

Looking for a new car but worried about costly repairs? We delve into the servicing and parts price data to show you where real value is in the local car market.

The annual Kinsey survey of South African vehicle parts and servicing, revealed some interesting trends within the local market. 

Although certain cars appeared to offer the best value, context is required to understand the numbers in their totality. 

Below are five of the most interesting details we extracted from the survey and what they mean for potential or current owners. 

Datsun Go

Nissan’s budget brand offering registered the most competitive overall parts bucket cost, at R63 100. The Go's servicing cost was also lowest, at R2 047, while its collective of repair parts totalled only R8 846 – the lowest in Kinsey's entire survey.

Those numbers might be impressive in absolute terms but the Go's ranking is misleading. It has a very low purchase price, but its parts bucket cost as a percentage of total price is not the lowest, at 41%.

There were three other hatchbacks (Ford's Figo, Toyota's Etios and VW's Vivo) which express a lower percentage, when the parts basket is calculated as a function of vehicle retail pricing. 

2018 Datsun Go

                                                                  Image: Calvin Fisher

The other issue is that although collective parts cost and servicing prices are valuable barometers, they do not account for total cost of vehicle ownership, especially at the time of disposal.

How well your car avoids depreciation as an asset is a crucial element of total ownership cost - and in this regard some of the Go's rivals would be superior. 

Renault Kwid Expression: is cheap really cheaper?

The cheapest vehicle in this year's survey is not the most affordable to service or repair. Renault's Kwid lists at R132 500, but its parts basket calculates to 50% of that price, which is a very high proportional number. 

It is true that cheaper vehicles will naturally have high proportional parts bucket percentages – because their overall price is lower – but the Kwid's collective parts total is R67 707. For context, consider Ford's Figo, which retails at R192 900, yet has a parts bucket of R67 805. 

If it is French or Korean, parts aren't cheap. The benefit of buying a locally assembled vehicle becomes obvious when unpacking the Kinsey survey data.

                                                                       Image: Charlen Raymond

Amongst the budget car and supermini categories, a consistent trend was how high the parts baskets are for imported vehicles, especially French and Korean ones. 

Renault's Sandero, for instance, has a 51.75% ratio of parts to purchase price. With the Clio that percentage grows to 53%. Kia's popular Rio registers a 64.85% ratio of replacement parts to purchase price, the highest of any rival hatchback in the survey. 

The curious case of Quest and GTI

Two vehicles which are completely unrelated, but both rank very impressive parts to purchase price ratios, are Toyota's Quest and VW's Golf GTI. The locally built Quest has the lowest collective parts price of all vehicles surveyed, representing only 29% of its purchase price for a total value of R65 341.

This is easily explained by the fact that Quest is an older generation Corolla, with a great deal of production maturity in its supply chain. Many of its parts include local content, further reducing price. VW's GTi is the interesting one.

vw golf gti

                                                                  Image: Wheels24 / Sergio Davids

This is a sophisticated hot hatchback and also an imported car.

That said, the GTI's R138 085 parts total was lower than a much cheaper vehicle such Honda's Jazz, which comes to R146 759. Mercedes-Benz's A200, perhaps a more direct to something such as the Golf, had a parts total of R185 732 – illustrating the value inherent in owning a GTI. 

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