Life in South Africa as we used to know it has changed dramatically under lockdown. So too have car buying patterns, says Autotrader.
For instance, searches for second-hand cars under R50,000 increased by almost 300% versus normal pre-lockdown levels during lockdown level 5. And the specific vehicle bought reveals some very interesting trends, says AutoTrader chief executive officer, George Mienie.
The number one choice of car in the sub-R50,000 category is the iconic Volkswagen Citi Golf.
“A uniquely South African success story, the Citi made its first appearance on South African roads in 1984, six years after Golf 1 was introduced in this country. Volkswagen of South Africa launched the Citi as its affordable car to compete in the entry-level segment following the introduction of a bigger and more expensive Golf 2 – the “Jumbo” Golf, as it became affectionately known.
“South Africans fell in love with the affordable and cheerful Citi; over the next 25 years, Volkswagen sold over 370,000 of these cars. It is interesting to see that the love affair of South Africans with the Citi endures to this day,” said Mienie.
“The popularity of the Citi Golf is also testament to the power of the Volkswagen brand. It’s a brand that motorists buy with confidence, because they trust it,” he said.
Back in November 2009, the price of the very last Citi model – the limited-edition Citi Mk1 – was R113,500. Lockdown shoppers have been paying a fraction of that: R37,691 on average – for vehicles with an average registration year of 2004 and an average mileage of 192,180 km, said AutoTrader.
Mienie noted that it’s also interesting to see that there are some great deals available on luxury German cars. “Buyers obviously need to be willing to accept average mileages of around 250 000 km – but, at an average price of R37,229 for a BMW 3 Series and R36,615 for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class – there are clearly some good deals to be had,” he said.
While the consumer emphasis has very much been on the sub-R50,000 sector, Mienie added that searches in this price category are petering off.
“We are seeing a return to pre-lockdown activity, where searches for cars R100,000 and less, or R200,000 and less, are becoming more popular again. Sub-R50,000 searches decreased by 40% while R100,000 searches increased by 22% and R200,000 searches increased by a whopping 51%,” he said.
According to Mienie, the return to R100,000 and R200,000 searches is likely due to industries opening up, people going back to work under Lockdown level 3, but also, is more than likely, an acceleration in the swing from new cars to used cars by consumers still under financial pressure.
The statistics are based on an analysis of vehicles sold on AutoTrader from 1 May to 7 June 2020.
|Make Model||AVG Selling Price||AVG Mileage||AVG Registration Year|
||R37 691||192 180 km||2004|
|BMW 3 Series||R37 229||245 706 km||2003|
|Opel Corsa||R35 327||179 607 km||2002|
|Opel Corsa Lite||R35 380||146 280 km||2006|
|Volkswagen Polo||R43 357||240 857 km||2004|
|Ford Fiesta||R33 831||215 154 km||2004|
|Mercedes-Benz C-Class||R36 615||260 550 km||2000|
|Atos Prime||R38 750||148 917 km||2006|
|Chery QQ3||R38 150||66 091 km||2013|
|Renault Scenic||R35 245||173 336 km||2005|