South African vehicle sales may be down by nearly one third compared to winter 2019, but the market for used cars is growing, with South Africa’s most perennially popular brands leading the virtual sales lot, according to Gumtree.co.za.
Recent Wesbank data suggests that new car sales remain 34.6 per cent down compared to the same period last year, which means the new vehicle market has sold 120,960 fewer cars this year compared to 2019. However, the used car market is humming, with the online classifieds platform boasting more than 70,000 listings.
Nunben Dixon, Head of Operations at Gumtree Auto, says “Transunion insights suggest a new-to-used car ratio of 2.31 used cars to every new car financed in South Africa over the last quarter, and we believe there’s never been a better time for buyers to negotiate a bargain on their future four-wheeled baby.”
With online shopping having surged since the first lockdown was instituted in March 2020, there’s been a notable increase in used-car listings as South Africans rework their budgets to future-proof their finances – but just because a downsizing might be required, doesn’t mean that car owners need to settle for second-best.
Buyers seeking a second-hand vehicle that still has that new car aroma are spoiled for choice, with more than 10,000 cars and bakkies with mileage of less than 10,000km listed for sale. Those that are happy with an older vehicle with higher mileage can choose from the 4,715 vehicles older than five years listed, or the 2,333 vehicles older than 10 years looking for new owners.
Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford vehicles – the three most popular brands before lockdown – account for more than half of all the second-hand vehicles listed on the online classifieds site, with VW Polo (3,137), the unofficial vehicle of UberX – Toyota Corolla (2,475) – and Ford Ranger (1,867) comprising the sellers’ favourites.
Dixon adds, “New vehicle price increases are rising faster than inflation, which highlights the attractiveness of a pre-loved car. We all know that your new car loses value the moment you remove the ceremonial bow and you drive it off the showroom floor, and it will depreciate by 15-20 per cent more within the first year of ownership.”
Claire Cobbledick, General Manager at Gumtree South Africa says, “Corporate South Africa is under immense pressure, and with the reversal of South Africa’s economic recession being uncertain, we expect to see additional job losses and other budget cuts directly impacting our middle class consumers over the next few quarters.
“Status symbols such as the car you drive and the house you live in are synonymous with South Africans’ collective culture, but we recommend prudent asset and liability considerations over the next financial year. The more consumers control their debt, the more likely they are to survive any post-COVID-19 aftershocks.”
The ten most popular manufacturers in the online classifieds’ site include:
Volkswagen – over 10,600
Toyota – 9,733
Ford – 6,488
Hyundai – 4,746
Nissan – 4,446
Mercedes-Benz – 4,152
BMW – 3,695
Renault – 3,045
Audi – 2,159
Honda – 1,470
Other (various brands)