Here are the five most important things that you need to know when shopping for wheels over the festive season. Photo: AP

DURBAN - Follow these tips and keep the woe, woe out of your ho, ho when buying a car this festive season.

Here are the five most important things that you need to know when shopping for wheels over the festive season:

1. Buy on auction right now

According to Darryl Jacobson, managing director of True Price, auction houses close mid-December. “Dealers attend vehicle auctions to source stock. However these auctions are not closed to the public. Members of the public are welcome to bid against the dealers, thereby saving the dealer margin. But, if you want to do this and grab a great deal, don’t delay,” he points out.

2. Avoid shopping for student or entry-level cars

If you’re looking to buy an inexpensive (sub-R150 000) car, don’t shop now. 

According to Jacobson, this is probably the worst time of the year to be shopping for one of these cars. The market is flooded with buyers – especially parents who are buying a car for their children, who are about to enter university. Thanks to this demand, you will pay top dollar. 

January is a better time to buy one of these cars, as Johan Olivier, head of marketing and sales at Auction Finance (True Price’s financing arm), reveals. 

Oliver said, "We attend all the vehicle auctions and January is traditionally the quietest month. Sellers will be hungry to make a sale, meaning you will get a better deal". 

3. Go for an expensive car

December is the very best time to buy a more expensive car. “The dealers will be looking to liquidate their stock before year-end. The last thing that they want is a high-end car sitting on their showroom floor,” explains Jacobson.

4. Buy a “fixer-upper”

Are you willing to buy a car that needs to be repaired? December is a great time to buy a “fixer-upper”. “This is because all the panel beaters close. 

Dealers will not buy these vehicles and, if they have one in stock, they will be very keen to dispose of it. They cannot fix it up in order to sell it, and they don’t want a vehicle like this one sitting on their books,” explains Jacobson.

5. Shop on 29 December

Want that once-in-a-lifetime deal? Saturday, December 29, is the best day to shop. “This is the last trading day for most dealers, because they will close on Sunday the 30th and Monday the 31st. They will be exceptionally keen to liquidate their stock before year-end … so you’re likely to bag a bargain,” Jacobson predicts.

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