Feeling used?

Feeling used?

In our 2015 report on used vehicles we learned that sales within the used market were growing substantially. Is this still the case? FOCUS goes truck shopping

Paul Kempenaar, director of Boksburg-based used truck dealership Truck World, explains that the dealership’s stats show a 32-percent increase in sales from January to June.

“Normally, in an election year, the markets go down. Clearly, most companies and buyers are focusing on their own interest and not what is going on in the country’s politics,” he relates candidly.

There must be more to it than that, though? “With the rand/dollar over the R15 mark, most new commercial vehicle prices are extremely high. Running costs with lower bank repayments and current contract rates make used vehicles favourable,” he says.

Ronald Melville, used-vehicle sales manager at Scania South Africa, adds, however, that sales are “not where we would like them to be”. Despite this, he says that buyers have a lot of choice.

“There are many very good vehicles on the market, which creates a lot of competition. It’s more of a buyers’ market; the high level of competition in the market adds cost effectiveness, meaning repayments are cheaper.”

So, buyers have the choice of a huge number of vehicles, which begs the question; how can you ensure you’re buying a good one?

Having been in the game for 20 years, Kempenaar attests that reputable private dealers like Truck World practise selective buying, so as to offer the best, cleanest, most reliable stock they can. Furthermore, each unit undergoes a service, has its brakes done and lights checked – among other things – before being sent for a roadworthy test.

“Providing peace of mind guarantees return business,” he notes.

Melville advises buyers to make sure the vehicle they want to buy fits the application for which it is going to be used.

“The attractiveness of the initial purchase price is a common mistake – buying the wrong vehicle for the wrong application lands up costing more in the long run. Further, if the truck will travel more than
15 000 km a month, then a low-kilometre used vehicle should be purchased. A high-kilometre truck doing high mileage each month will not be cost effective as downtime will increase,” he suggests.

What else should buyers look out for? Melville adds that buying on auction can be risky as you may not be made aware of defects, and there is also little back up.

Clean, re-sprayed trucks could be hiding defects. The condition of the interior is normally a tell-tale sign of whether or not the previous owner and/or driver had respect for the vehicle. In addition, purchasing a vehicle with a service history will add peace of mind.

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