South African car buyers are very keen on demo vehicles. The latest Transunion data shows that 10% of financed used car purchases in SA in Q1 2019 were for demonstration models.
Jeff Osborne of Gumtree Autos says demos – vehicles which have been used by dealerships for test drives – carry “an inbuilt perception of good value as a new second-hand car”. He believes there’s good reason to be attracted to demo models – and the Gumtree website has just launched a special Demo Car Deals category on its home page in response to the demand – but buyers should take several factors into consideration when buying one.
- View demos as premium second hand vehicles rather than cheap new ones as you negotiate the price which should be around 10-15% off the list price depending on the vehicle.
- Check the vehicle’s history. Some demo models run up more km’s than others. How long has it been on the shop floor? Has it been used by staff or as a temporary replacement vehicle as well as by test drivers? Get the answers in writing.
- Demos are usually well maintained as showpieces but be very thorough in checking body work. Ask if there have been any scrapes or repairs. Again get the all-clear in writing.
- Demo vehicles are often high spec to impress would-be buyers. You may not need all the top end gear and therefore may be overpaying if they’re priced into the cost. Negotiate on this point.
- A demo model has run some time and some kilometres off the warranty clock. Price that accordingly.