BUYING VEHICLES OVER THE FESTIVE PERIOD
HERE are the five most important things you need to know when shopping for wheels over the festive season:
1. Buy on auction now. According to Darryl Jacobson, the 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 says.
2. Avoid shopping for “student” or entry-level cars. If you’re looking to buy an inexpensive (less than R150 000) car, don’t shop now.
“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 buying a car for their children who are about to enter university. Thanks to this demand, you will pay top dollar,” Jacobson says.
January is a better time to buy one of these cars, says Johan Olivier, the head of marketing and sales at Auction Finance (True Price’s financing arm). “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,” he says.
3. Go for an expensive car.
December is the best time to buy a more expensive car.
“The dealers will be looking to liquidate their stock before year-end. The last thing they want is a high-end car sitting on their showroom floor,” says Jacobson.
In November, the new car market in South Africa registered a decline of 1 764 cars (or 5.4 percent) versus the 32 818 new cars sold in November last year.
“The dealers will be looking to bounce back in December. There are typically lots of specials on high-end new cars at this time of the year and, given a November market that was off the boil, this will be even more so the case this year. This means that used car dealers have to offer really great deals – otherwise they will lose out to their new car colleagues.”
4. Buy a “fixer-upper”. December is a great time to buy a “fixer-upper”. “This is because all the panelbeaters close. Accordingly, dealers will not buy these vehicles, and if they have one in stock they will be keen to dispose of it. They cannot fix it up to sell it, and they don’t want a vehicle like this on their books,” says Jacobson.
5. Shop on December 29. 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 says.
DECEMBER is the best time to buy a more expensive car, because dealers want to liquidate their stock before the end of the year.