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Japanese cars tops in SA for affordability, easy maintenance

Sep 23 2018 19:45
Carin Smith

Japanese-made cars dominate the top five positions on the new Car Maintenance Index 2018, released by market research group New World Wealth.

The report suggests that, based on the affordability of maintaining vehicles over the long-term, the top five "best" car brands to own in SA - in no particular order - are Toyota; Honda; Opel; Nissan and Mazda.

The research found that, if one looks at the number of cars of 25 years and older on SA's roads, Toyota dominates.

Furthermore, a large number of Cressidas, Conquests and Corollas from the 1970s and 1980s are still found on SA roads.

The index report concludes that this suggests these cars are relatively easy to maintain and cheap to repair. It also suggests that they give relatively few problems over the long term.

Around 500 000 new cars are sold in SA each year, generating revenue of around R150bn a year.

How it was done

For the research, over 30 car brands were considered, including all major car brands available in SA.

Criteria used included the availability and affordability of spare parts for the vehicle; the affordability of services after the motor plan had ended; and the reliability of the car after the motor plan had ended. Special focus was placed on the number of major engine and gearbox problems that a vehicle experiences over time.

The research also looked at the ability of dealerships to handle large repair jobs and the affordability of such repairs. Lastly, it looked at the affordability of insurance premiums, relative to the price of the vehicle.

The sources used included interviews with independent second-hand car dealers; interviews with independent auto mechanics; and interviews with "roadworthy vehicle inspection" providers.

Furthermore, vehicles of 25 years and older still on SA's roads and still in good working order were tracked. Lastly, online complaints and compliments were tracked.

Car insurance

The index research included a look at car insurance in SA.

In rating the top car insurers in SA for 2018, criteria included the affordability of premiums; the level of customer service; the speed of pay-out; the ease of the pay-out process; and roadside assistance and towing.

The index suggests the top five car insurers in SA for 2018 - in no particular order - are Discovery; Hollard; Auto & General; Outsurance; and King Price.

Sources included interviews with financial intermediaries (independent brokers and advisors); interviews with tow truck drivers; and the tracking of complaints and compliments online.

The research found that car insurance premiums normally range from R400 to R600 per month for a car worth R200 000. The SA car insurance industry generates revenue of around R20bn per year in SA.

Only around 4 million (35%) of the 12 million registered cars in SA are insured.

Over 20 local car insurers were included in the study, including the main players.

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new world wealth  |  cars  |  auto industry
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