VW Polo is one of the most searched-for used cars online.
VW Polo is one of the most searched-for used cars online.

Buyers switch to used cars for value

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Apr 30, 2015

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Johannesburg - According to recent forecasts the South African new car market is likely to experience very little growth this year as motorists shift towards the used-car market.

Now, the latest statistics from online vehicle sales portal Surf4Cars shows in which segments buyers are shopping, as well as what they’re most interested in.

“The needs of the market are fairly clear when looking at the data,” said Charles Grassie, Managing Director at Surf4Cars. “And the picture painted is one of affordability: the majority of searches are for small family hatchbacks in the entry-level price bands.”

Of all used-car searches performed on Surf4Cars in the last quarter, 60 percent were for vehicles that cost between R150 000 and R200 000. These are buyers who have a reasonable budget for a car, but high price inflation for new cars means that they’re less likely to shop new and are looking for better value in the pre-owned space.

“Naturally, buyers looking for affordable vehicles also want something that is reliable and cheap to maintain,” said Grassie. “To this end we see that there’s a trend of buyers sticking to familiar, mainstream brands.”


Of the top 20 most-searched-for brands on Surf4Cars, the top three are also the three top-performing brands according to monthly sales data in the new-car market. Volkswagen, Toyota, and Ford make up 44 percent of the top 20 search volumes, at 22.6 percent, 20.9 percent and 10.8 percent respectively. Mainstream manufacturers show up 12 times in the top 20, and searches for these brands comprise 73 percent of the total.

In the model breakdown Volkswagen’s products once again prove most popular with online shoppers. The Polo, Polo Vivo, and long-discontinued Citi Golf have the lion’s share of the top 20, with a combined total of 24 percent of searches being for these compact hatches.

Hatchbacks make up 34 percent of search volumes, with buyers also looking at the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Opel Corsa, Mini Cooper, BMW 1 Series, Ford Focus, as well as more recent Volkswagen Golf models.

South African buyers are also fond of bakkies, with the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu KB, and Corsa Utility all featuring in the top 20. Bakkies make up a healthy 23 percent of all searches, showing there is a demand for these practical vehicles at affordable prices.

Star Motoring

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