Consumers are increasingly focusing on low-mileage, pre-owned vehicles with InspectaCar Finance reporting a 160 per cent increase in applications from May 2020 when lockdown levels were first eased compared to August 2020.
Applications have stabilised to normal levels with a -0.98% decrease, and the ratio of financing used vehicles to new ones currently stands at 2:1 according to TransUnion.
According to Jason White, Joint Venture Head of InspectaCar Finance, the pandemic has accelerated search by consumers for pre-owned vehicles.
“Despite the disruption, we see a large number of online users still intending to purchase their next vehicle within the next three or four months. This can be attributed to the fact that interest rates are working in favour of the buyer, with prime currently at 7%,” says White.
“Consumers are also taking advantage of a fixed rate option on their application rates. Although slightly higher than linked rates, a fixed rate option provides peace of mind motoring in the event interest rates should increase. There has never been a better time to fix your vehicle instalment rate.”
According to White, certain ranges are getting a lot of attention, with LCVs attracting a higher than normal activity rate.
Currently, the top passenger brands for searches are VW in first position, followed by Toyota, while in the LCV market, Toyota leads the way followed by Ford and then Nissan. Data from InspectaCar also suggests that there’s still a market for pre-owned premium vehicles, based on searches from their customers’ online engagement.
In response to the strength of the pre-owned market, InspectaCar has added to their website the capability for privately listed cars to be uploaded by consumers and evaluated by InspectaCar dealers, under the “sell my car” functionality, a tool that provides a fair market value of the seller’s vehicle, provided that the quality of the vehicle is satisfactory. This tool has already been used for more than 34 assessments in the past month, and while the functionality is still new, it is yet to be put through its full capability.
“It is undoubtedly a good time to buy a car, particularly if customers have reached their breakeven point. This is where the settlement is almost equal to the trade price of their vehicle. What with the current favourable low interest rates, low fuel costs and some excellent offers available, perhaps a more affordable, lower mileage and more economical vehicle is the way to go,” concludes White.
InspectaCar is the only second-hand vehicle franchise certified by WesBank.
Among South Africa’s five largest exporters of vehicles – VW, Toyota, Ford, Merc and BMW - only Toyota reported being affected by the current shortage of semiconductors; what the trade calls a chip.
Although many blame the COVID-19 pandemic for the changes in the auto market, where consumers are making significant changes in their choice of vehicle, the CEO of Motus Retail and Rental, Corné Venter, says it comes as no surprise.
Automotive business council, Naamsa, has confirmed it will support the Competition Commission’s guidelines for competition in the South African automotive aftermarket.