Online car searches: The new dealership window

According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), new vehicle sales have seen a year-on-year decline for fourteen months until January 2017 when an increase of 3.7% was recorded1. “The rising interest in vehicle purchasing is apparent on our new Car Listings platform, where we have seen an increase of 492% from October 2016 to the end of January 2017,” says Derek Wilson, head of SA’s leading online insurance and financial services website,


This is not surprising considering that 94% of consumers research cars online before they make any purchases, making online platforms the new dealership window2. Here are some tips on what to look out for when looking for cars online.


Avoid private sales


The first alarm bell that should go off is that you are not protected under the Consumer Protection Act for private sales3. This means that you may have to make provision for legal back up when it comes to binding agreements and contracts between the parties. There are also other responsibilities that you might need to take on and finance in the event of a private sale such as getting an independent mechanical report to ensure the vehicle’s condition is as indicated, and going through the process of registering the vehicle in your name.


Research online reviews


Before selecting the best vehicle for your needs, ensure that you have at least three top choices in terms of make and model. Visit motoring news sites to compare reviews and recommendations on your top vehicle choices to ensure you select the best option. This reduces the risk of you running into any future issues such as unaffordable service costs, technical malfunctions and factory faults.


Request a mechanical report before arranging a viewing


If you have come across a good deal online, ask the dealership to email the vehicle’s mechanical report and service records to you so you are aware of the exact condition of the vehicle upfront, instead of wasting time and hassle in arranging a viewing for a vehicle that is not in a satisfactory condition.


Compare multiple deals from a range of providers


Compare from a range of different providers as this will allow you to negotiate a better cost with the dealership of choice. When going online, ensure that you get the most value out of each session by choosing a site that is credible, secure and provides you with comparing not only cars, but also other things you may need such as Vehicle Finance, Car Insurance, Vehicle Tracking, and Motor Warranty or Service Plans.


“Our unique responsive internet technology enables us to act as a matchmaker between a car buyer and car dealer, saving both parties time and money. You can also compare all the above-mentioned products whilst visiting,” concludes Wilson.




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