The recent government-issued lockdown has meant that all dealerships have had to close their physical doors for three weeks – but most are still actively trading online.
“While dealerships can’t deliver vehicles in person, they are online and able to take phone calls and enquiries,” says Nunben Dixon, Head of Gumtree Auto. “In fact, some dealerships are reporting high sales call volumes as house-bound customers are using the time to research their cars of choice.”
And while times are uncertain, it does not mean consumers should put off a car purchase, says Dixon. “We do know that inflation and the weak rand, as well as the shut-down of global manufacturing plants, will likely result in price hikes for both new and used vehicles in the future. Lots of individuals will be scaling down and there are great deals to be grabbed.”
In other markets, dealerships and finance companies are driving sales with extended warranties and low-interest finance deals – and South Africa may soon follow suit.
“Now is an excellent time to get to know your local dealership. Chat to them about your options and deals on the horizon. Try to widen your search – it’s relatively cheap to ship a car cross-country, e.g. from Johannesburg to Cape Town, so if you spot a dream car in a different province, phone the dealership and ask for options.”
While you can’t test drive a car at present, a salesperson will be able to send additional photographs and give you a thorough description of the car. “In most cases you can apply for finance and submit an offer to purchase to secure the stock well in advance, even if lockdown is extended.”
Dixon urges everyone to adhere to the lockdown. “Both dealerships and clients need to stick to the rules and limit face-to-face time. Our health and well-being should be the main priority at this stage.”