Stock clear­ance

Bar­gains can be had as Dodge and Chrysler also close in SA

The Witness - Wheels - - INDUSTRY - AL­WYN VILJOEN

BUY­ERS who are in the market for a cheap new car now have two more bar­gains to choose from.

This after Fiat Chrysler SA has an­nounced that it will no longer sell Dodge or Chrysler ve­hi­cles in South Africa, but re­as­sures Jeep and Fiat will con­tinue to be sold lo­cally.

The an­nounce­ment has been long awaited in the auto trade as de­mand for the last Chrysler 300C and Dodge Jour­neys — the mod­els from these brands avail­able in SA — have long been too low to sup­port a deal­er­ship.

The Dodge Chrysler deal­er­ships this week said it would con­tinue to sup­port and ser­vice cur­rent Chrysler and Dodge ve­hi­cles through its fran­chise deal­ers.

Gen­eral Mo­tors said the same thing when it an­nounced it will stop sell­ing Chevro­let in South Africa in June.

All this means for the more dar­ing car buyer is huge dis­counts at both brands.

This is “all stocks must go” time, and the price on the wind­screen is not even a guide­line.

Deal­ers know that few peo­ple will be will­ing to risk a fourto seven-year in­vest­ment in a car that may or may not have good parts sup­port, and will do what it takes to make a sale.

That makes the big Chevro­let Trail­blazer sport util­ity one of the best bar­gains to be had in South Africa to­day, while the smaller Spark and at­trac­tive Cruze will come with even steeper dis­counts. The half-ton bakkie that started as an Opel be­fore sport­ing the Chevro­let bow tie will con­tinue to be built at the Chev plant now un­der Isuzu. It is not yet known what badge the Opel/Chev will sport on the nose this time round.

See it as brand-new used

Buy­ing a brand new car from an im­porter that has an­nounced an end to its lo­cal busi­ness is not as risky as it seems — as long as you do not rely to­tally on the dealer for ser­vices or re­pairs, and re­place the war­ranty and ser­vice plan with a generic, off the shelf ser­vice from the Re­tail Mo­tor In­dus­try (RMI). You know odds are high the im­porter’s war­ranty is not going to be of any use to you once the dealer closes, no mat­ter what prom­ises you hear.

The good news is that there are many pri­vate me­chan­ics and parts sell­ers who will be able to sell you an RMI plan, and get what­ever you need when it is time to ser­vice the ve­hi­cle.

Fiat and Alfa ex­pand­ing

Fiat said this an­nounce­ment does not af­fect Fiat, which re­cently added the Tipo and Panda 4x4 to show­room floors, while the Stelvio SUV from Alfa Romeo is due to ar­rive be­fore year-end.

FCA South Africa CEO Robin van Rens­burg said: “The fu­ture for FCA in South Africa is cer­tainly an in­ter­est­ing one, my man­age­ment team, in­deed my en­tire staff com­ple­ment, have their work cut out for them and I am con­fi­dent that we will suc­ceed.”

Van Rens­burg said new FCA deal­er­ships are planned for Dur­ban, Pre­to­ria, Midrand and Jo­han­nes­burg.

PHO­TOS: FILE

Re­main­ing mod­els of the Dodge Jour­ney (above) and Chevro­let Trail­blazer (be­low) can now be had for a lot less than their sug­gested re­tail prices of over half a mil­lion, if the buy­ers are will­ing to treat them as brand new used ve­hi­cles with no dealer sup­port.

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