It’s no secret that the new car market is struggling when it comes to unit sales. However, the used car market has moved R10.2 billion in car sales in January. Two factors indicate that the used car market is recovering:
• A negative trend in the volume of used car listings has turned around to being flat in January 2020. This is a good proxy for market supply.
• The number of sales has accelerated from a six-month average of 7% to almost 11% in January 2020 versus January 2019. This is a good lagging indicator of consumer demand.
According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, January 2020 was a record breaking month in the history of AutoTraders presence online: "Car dealers listed more cars, and consumers searched for more cars, than ever before.
"It is interesting to see that, according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), the new car market was -8.1% down in January 2020 (versus January 2019). With consumer buying patterns shifting from new to used, we reached our highest numbers in terms of searches, page views, leads and sessions last month.
"Just over 36 000 used cars were sold in January 2020 alone – with a cumulative selling price of over R10.2 billion! This is an increase of over 3 500 (10.8%) cars and R900 million (9.7%) over January 2019,” he reveals.
A good proxy
As the country’s largest digital motoring marketplace, AutoTrader serves as a good proxy for automotive demand, supply, price and South African consumer buying patterns.
According to Mienie, the majority of used car sales in January occurred in Gauteng.
"Gauteng accounted for 59% of total sales, with 15% coming from Western Cape and 13% hailing from KwaZulu-Natal,” he reveals.
The average selling price for used cars in January was R283 734 – with the average mileage being 73 368km. The average age of used vehicles sold in January 2020 was five years and four months.
The Volkswagen Polo was the top-selling used car in January 2020.
"It was followed by the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Polo Vivo, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class,” explains Mienie.
The most searched for brand in January was BMW.
"It was interesting to see searches for BMW increased by a considerable 54.77% versus December 2019. Volkswagen was the second most-searched for brand, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Audi," says Mienie.
It was also interesting to see the different shopping preferences in the various provinces.
Ranger a top-seller
"The Ford Ranger was the top-selling used vehicle in Limpopo, the North West, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. The Polo was the most popular used car in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State. In the Northern Cape, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class clocked in tops,” says Mienie.
Turning to body types, the most popular used sports utility vehicle (SUV) in January was the Toyota Fortuner.
"The C-Class was the most popular coupé and also the most popular sedan while the Polo was the top-selling hatchback. The Nissan NP200 reigned supreme in the single cab rankings while the Ranger was the top-selling double cab in January 2020,” Mienie concludes.