Cars.co.za defines its customer sweet spot

Everyone is looking for that perfect used car. No matter what your budget is, it seems that pre-conditions include low milage, a bargain (meaning well priced) and of course in a very good condition or quality.

VW Polo most requested car

But what is that so-called “sweet spot” South Africans are looking for when searching for a used car or as some dealers prefer to call them, pre-owned?

The motoring platform Cars.co.za indicates that low-mileage vehicles priced at just under R290 000, which were first registered between 2016 and 2019, are the most popular cars on the site, which, at the time this report was compiled, listed more than 70 000 vehicles for sale.

“We looked at the number of enquiries put through to dealers during the past 90 days rather than most of vehicles listed,” says Cars.co.za’s Consumer Experience Manager, Hannes Oosthuizen. “An enquiry, also called a ‘lead’, is, of course, an indicator of intent to purchase.”

A deeper analysis of the headline numbers (of vehicles first registered between 2016 and 2019) reveals that user enquiries about listed used cars that were first registered in 2017 and are priced at between R200 000 and R300 000 represent the lion’s share of the lead volume (in fact, 24.4% of leads for vehicles first registered from 2016 to 2019 are in that price bracket).

“It comes as no surprise to find that the ‘R150 000 to R200 000’ and ‘R300 000 to R400 000’ brackets are the next biggest. For vehicles of this particular age (2016 to 2019 models), nearly 60% of leads fall into the price range of R150 000 to R400 000,” Hannes says.

“A whopping 31.8% of leads are for vehicles with mileages of between 10 000 km and 50 000 km and the overwhelming majority (81.4%) of all leads put through in those categories are for vehicles with a mileage of less than 100 000 km,” he adds.

Top 10 Most Popular Cars on Cars.co.za

Based on lead volume during the past 90-day period, the most requested vehicles on Cars.co.za (with no limit on price and mileage) are the following;

  1. Volkswagen Polo
  2. Toyota Hilux
  3. Ford Ranger
  4. Volkswagen Polo Vivo
  5. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  6. BMW 3 Series
  7. Nissan NP200
  8. Volkswagen Golf
  9. Toyota Fortuner
  10. Ford EcoSport

Impact of the New Vehicle Market

Rising new vehicle prices (some examples are shown below), the economic impact of repeated COVID-19 lockdowns and stock challenges (caused by several factors, including the international semi-conductor shortage), have all put the new vehicle market under significant pressure. “All these factors have a compounding impact on the used-car market,” says Oosthuizen.

“Firstly, new vehicle prices have risen sharply in the past year and, in some cases, by more than double the country’s official CPI inflation rate. This alone will result in some buyers now simply being forced to purchase their next vehicle in the pre-owned market.

“The result is a decline in new-car sales, which ultimately leads to pressure on used-car stock availability. Meanwhile, the increasing demand for quality used cars, combined with lower stock availability, will inevitably drive up used-car prices,” he adds.

Vehicle Make & Model

New Price in June 2020

New Price currently (July 2021)

Percentage increase

BMW 320i

R700 562

R731 762

4.45%

Datsun Go! Mid

R170 800

R183 900

7.7%

Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Premium Auto

R465 500

R506 900

8.9%

Kia Seltos 1.6 EX Auto

R387 995

R417 995

7.73%

Mazda CX-5 2.0 Dynamic Auto

R458 800

R506 600

10.4%

Nissan NP200 1.6 16v High

R247 100

R251 900

1.94%

Renault Triber 1.0 Dynamique

R181 900

R195 900

7.7%

Suzuki Swift 1.2 GL

R183 900

R199 900

8.7%

Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 Auto

R561 800

R611 800

8.9%

Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline

R301 000

R327 500

8.8%

Cars.co.za’s Top 10 Best Value Buys

“We’ve used the results of previous iterations of the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank – to rank various brands’ performances in terms of after-sales support, reliability and other criteria. By combining that data with the availability and pricing of stock on Cars.co.za, we have been able to identify the 10 best buys in the used-car market right now,” Oosthuizen explains. “The biggest challenge, of course, is to find a vehicle from a reputable brand at a good price, but also with relatively low mileage.

“A lot of research goes into the annual Cars.co.za Consumer Awards, including surveying thousands of South African car owners on their ownership experiences,” he concludes.

If you’re shopping for a vehicle that’s no older than 5 years, has a mileage of under 100 000 km and is priced between R200 000 and R300 000, the Cars.co.za editorial team – and our data – suggest the following vehicles:

  1. Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline Auto
  2. Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi XL Double-Cab
  3. BMW 320i (previous generation)
  4. Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI Comfortline
  5. Isuzu KB250 D-Teq Double-Cab Hi-Rider
  6. Hyundai Tucson 2.0 Premium Auto
  7. Mazda CX-5 2.0 Active Auto
  8. Nissan Qashqai 1.2T Acenta Auto
  9. Toyota RAV4 2.0 GX Auto (previous generation)
  10. Suzuki Vitara 1.6 GL+ Auto

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