JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – The Covid ”lockdown” has affected every South African on so many levels – and that includes car-buying patterns.
This has shown up in analysing search and sales data through AutoTrader before and during the various lockdowns. AutoTrader explains that, as SA’s largest digital automotive market, it has insight into car-buying patterns.CEO George Mienie told The Corner it was interesting to see how preferences changed during Covid ‘lockdowns’: “The 2020 AutoTrader Car Industry Report reveals which cars were most searched-for pre- and during-lockdown. When compared to search data during Lockdown Level 2 (August 18-September 10 2020) there are some distinct differences.”
One was substantial growth in searches for the VW Golf: the cars were fourth most-searched before lockdown but shot to the top during lockdown levels 5 and 4.
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“This could have something to do with prices,” Mienie said. ”According to the 2020 AutoTrader Car Industry Report the average selling price of the Golf over the past year was about R288 000 while the average selling price for a Hilux (bakkie) was R327 800.
”The dominance of the Golf could indicate that people are under financial pressure and wanted to minimise their spending on a car.”
There was, however, an exception: the Porsche 911 was 10th mostsought during lockdown. Mienie said: “The 911 is periodically in the top 10 list of most-searched for cars yet it did appear during lockdown. Maybe people were dreaming of better times to come, maybe they were just wanting to have some fun during what was a very difficult time.”
The data also revealed fewer searches for a Ford Ranger compared to its competitors. “According to the 2020 AutoTrader Car Industry Report, the Ranger was the top-selling used car, contributing 4.7% of all cars sold and at an average selling price of R305 940, an average odo reading of 85 950km, and an average year model of 2016.
”Yet it was the fifth most-searched during all three periods.”
Mienie says one thing is certain: “Lockdown has had an enormous effect on the lives of people (indeed, on all South Africans). It has also greatly affected the used-vehicle market. Let’s hope, the challenging times are behind us.”