The VW Golf GTI was the most searched-for model in AutoTrader’s 2020 Car Industry Report. Picture: SUPPLIED
The VW Golf GTI was the most searched-for model in AutoTrader’s 2020 Car Industry Report. Picture: SUPPLIED

Most South Africans looking for used cars online are shopping in the sub-R250,000 sector on AutoTrader’s website.

This price bracket constituted 72.3% of price-related searches for hatchbacks during August, says AutoTrader CEO George Mienie.

Site statistics reveal that the Volkswagen Polo is the country’s most searched-for used hatch, with VW dominating the segment. While the Polo was the most searched-for hatchback in the sub-R250,000 price bracket in August 2020, the list of top 10 models contained three VW derivatives, with the Golf second and the Polo Vivo fourth.

According to the 2020 AutoTrader Car Industry Report, hatchbacks are the body type with the lowest selling price and mileage combination, and they’re also the most sold body type in the country. In the last year, they accounted for 31% of the total used cars sold in SA.

The domination of the Polo in this segment comes as no surprise, says Mienie. “According to the 2020 AutoTrader Car Industry Report, the Polo was the second-most sold used car in SA in the last year, contributing 4.7% of all cars sold, at an average selling price of R205,238, an average mileage of 58,652km and an average year model of 2016,” he says.

He says the Golf’s popularity in this sector was partly driven by interest in the iconic GTI, which was the most searched-for variant overall in the 2020 Car Industry Report, at 1.5-million searches.

Consumers are increasingly focusing on low-mileage pre-owned vehicles, according to InspectaCar Finance, which reports a 160% increase in applications from May 2020 when lockdown levels were first eased compared to August 2020.

Applications have stabilised to normal levels with a -0.98% decrease, and the ratio of financing used to new vehicles stands at 2:1.

According to Jason White, joint venture head of InspectaCar Finance, the pandemic has accelerated searches by consumers for pre-owned vehicles.

“Despite the disruption, we see a large number of online users still intending to purchase their next vehicle within the next three or four months. This can be attributed to the fact that interest rates are working in favour of the buyer, with prime currently at 7%,” says White.

Most searched-for hatchbacks in the R250,000 price bracket*

1 Volkswagen Polo

2 Volkswagen Golf

3 Kia Rio

4 Volkswagen Polo Vivo

5 Ford Fiesta

6 Ford Focus

7 BMW 1 Series

8 Hyundai i20

9 Audi A3

10 Renault Clio

* Source: August 2020, AutoTrader

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