Motoring News

Fuse lit for SA used-vehicles explosion – Mienie

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Used-car sales in South Africa during May 2020 mimicked new–car sales and were, understandably, down on 2019, but the public are demonstrating increasing interest in buying second- or third-hand.

More than 17 000 used cars were sold on AutoTrader in May 2020 versus more than 36 000 in the same month a year earlier, a decline of 52.11%. But the big news is that 37.7-million vehicle searches were made in May 2020 – versus 25.1-million in the same month last year.

That’s a substantial increase of 49.78% and AutoTrader CEO George Mienie explained: “We have to remember that trading resumed halfway through the month and that licensing departments remain closed – so the sales figures are quite encouraging given the circumstances.

“The search results indicate pent-up demand, which is great for the economy and could indicate a returning to normal.”


As the country’s largest motoring marketplace, car searches and sales through AutoTrader have long been regarded as an accurate barometer of buying patterns. 

The cumulative value of used-car sales to June 2020 shows a dramatic – but understandable – decline compared to 2019. A cumulative selling price of R4.8-billion was recorded in 2020 on a year-to-date basis versus R10.2-million through the same period in 2019. 

The Ford Ranger was once again the most-sold used vehicle in May 2020 but two other podium positions changed completely when compared to April 2020. The Kia Sportage and Jeep Wrangler (second and third in April) were replaced by the Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Hilux.


“That’s interesting to see,” notes Mienie. “It indicates that the market is normalising. The Polo and Hilux are perennially popular.”

In a similar vein, the vehicle in fourth spot in April – the Kia Picanto – was replaced by the Volkswagen Polo Vivo in May. “This is what we have come to expect from used-vehicle buyers. The Polo Vivo is always a top performer in the used market.”

Mienie said Gauteng was the most-active province during May 2020, accounting for a whopping 61% of the total used market in South Africa. The Ranger reigned supreme in that province with more than 10 000 sales in May.

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