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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. A demo model has run some time and some kilometres off the warranty clock. Price that accordingly.

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