Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

When you see a beat-up old Toyota selling for R30,000, you tend to think that used car prices in SA might be a little out of kilter with the rest of the world. Look at classifieds from across the world and you’ll find Opel Corsas selling for barely R10,000 in the UK and Mustangs going for peanuts in the US. So just how expensive are used cars in the local market?

Online UK used car dealership Carspring conducted a study on the depreciation of second-hand cars across the globe. While comparing the value of used cars between nations is known within the industry to be challenging, the company says it sought to understand the global market and offer transparency to the public.

It came up with the Global Used Car Price Index 2017, which offers an overview of the value of various brands across different economic regions and car markets.

The 40 countries researched include the majority of the largest car-producing nations, plus other countries of automotive interest, while brands were selected based on global popularity. Where no direct model comparison was available between nations, they identified comparable global models per brand and selected models with similar mileage and engines.

With these conditions defined, they researched all used cars available in the market for each model, plus those sold in the past 12 months from hundreds of online and brick-and-mortar retailers in five of the biggest cities in each market.

As the graphic shows, SA scored much better than we expected, coming in fifth-cheapest in the world.

Determining car values on a country-to-country basis requires complex pricing models. For used cars, this can be even more complicated. The rate of devaluation from one car to another begins the moment the car leaves the dealership and can fluctuate in an indeterminable number of ways.


Other obstacles include specification. For example, in Europe you can buy a basic BMW with cloth seats, but in SA leather is standard.

Generally South African models receive a much higher specification than the market requires in other parts of the world, which makes SA’s fifth place even more impressive.

If you are fond of statistics, here are a few to chat about. Don’t buy a car in Singapore — everything is more expensive because of taxation. India is the cheapest place to buy a pre-owned bakkie and if you want to go green, Latvia is the cheapest place to buy an eco-car.

The most expensive place to buy a Land Rover is India, which is ironic given that the brand is owned by Tata. And if you want to buy a Ford, the cheapest place is Canada — although we’re not sure if Kuga prices in SA were taken into account.

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