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It's time to make pre-owned car buying a better experience all-round

2018-07-04 11:21

ADVERTORIAL

In the South African car market, pre-owned is still very much king.

The latest TransUnion statistics show that the number of used vehicle sales in the country remains more than double that of new vehicles. The Q1 2018 stats also show that the TransUnion Used Car Vehicle Price Index rose by 3.5% in that quarter whereas the New Vehicle Price Index was up by only 2.3%.

While the sales performance of fresh metal in SA is slowly improving after a grim period, thanks to repressed pricing and a marginal improvement in interest rates, it’s clear that it’s in the pre-owned space that most South Africans do their car buying. And Gumtree, the country’s biggest online classifieds site, with more than 80,000 vehicle ads listed, is on a mission to improve that pre-owned transaction experience.

“There’s an understandable focus in media on reviewing and reporting the new car market” says Gumtree Head of Automotive Jeff Osborne “but we want to make the pre-owned space more rigorous, reliable and transparent. We want to put South Africans in the right car for their needs.”

Osborne says that a Gumtree panel of judges has road tested every leading brand across ten different categories – from budget cars under R110k through to premium performance vehicles - based on key elements such as value retention, maintenance costs and reliability, which are in line with the real factors that prospective buyers should be weighing up.  

The tests are posted on the Gumtree site and are designed to make the assessment process less complex and more user-friendly.

The same road tests form part of the Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards which were inaugurated last year and are the first ever in South Africa to put the spotlight entirely on pre-owned vehicles.

In 2017, Volkswagen won three judges’ awards and Mercedes-Benz took out two but there were also notable wins for Toyota Rav-4, Ford Ranger, Kia Picanto, Mazda CX3 and the BMW M4.

The shortlist of finalists for the 2018 awards will be announced in July with the winners being revealed in September.

Osborne says; “We’re fine tuning the criteria this year to make it an even more accurate read on which vehicles hold their value and deliver on their promise in the long term. We believe these awards have already become an important landmark for the pre-owned market in South Africa.”

The Q1 2018 TransUnion report highlights that 46% of used vehicles sold in the country are under two years old, and 9% were demo models. According to Osborne this means that consumers are opting for “newer” old vehicles. “Our road tests are in that space – 2/3 year old vehicles – because that’s the sweet spot in the market where most of the action is happening.”

Osborne offers one vital piece of advice for used car buyers: “Always start with the safety of the vehicle. Too many people are fixated on the colour or the model or the price and either ignore safety factors or do not account for the cost of the essential work that will be needed to make the vehicle safe. At the very least assess the state of tyres, brakes, wipers and all lights before considering anything else.”

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Gumtree.

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