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Buying a pre-owned car - how to find a winner

Jeff Osborne, Head of Gumtree Automotive

In South Africa’s automotive landscape, most of the attention from motoring media and local car awards shows is firmly on new vehicles. But for local motorists, the question of what makes a winning pre-owned vehicle is far more relevant considering they currently outsell new ones by more than double.

Jeff Osborne, Head of Gumtree Automotive, believes that, whilst new vehicle sales are obviously very important, more South Africans are looking for guidance on how to navigate the pre-owned market which is growing by the day in the current tough economy.

“Pre-owned can be the smarter choice for savvy buyers. The range and quality of pre-owned vehicles now on offer, combined with a better set of financing options and the extension of service plans, has removed much of the stigma and risk previously associated with the category” says Osborne.

This year Gumtree is introducing the pre-owned car awards specifically to broaden the concept of a “winning car”. Finalists in the awards will be evaluated against criteria such as value retention, maintenance costs and reliable performance which are in line with the real factors that prospective buyers should be weighing up when deciding on their next pre-owned car.

This represents a significant departure from typical automotive awards which tend to promote flashier aspects from torque to technical innovation.

Osborne’s advice to pre-owned buyers is to think like a judge at these awards to find your own winner. He says the sweet spot for a quality pre-owned ride at good value is usually vehicles which are one-to-three years old and are familiar favourites from mainstream manufacturers which have the most accessible and affordable parts.

He adds that after-sales service is just as important for pre-owned cars as for new. “Motorists should research the footprint and overall reputation of a manufacturer’s dealership network”.

Osborne also strongly recommends getting a full verification report done by TransUnion on any prospective purchase to ensure that you are buying a legitimate vehicle.

The best pre-owned cars on the South African market, as determined by the judges of the first Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards across several categories, will be announced in November.

To stay updated on the latest news around the Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards, visit gumtree.co.za/awards/ or follow Gumtree SA on Facebook or Twitter.