Wednesday, 26 August 2009


BURCHMORE’S SAYS: In the 2000 movie of the same name, Mel Gibson had a fairly good understanding of “What Women Want”. Well now Darryl Jacobson, managing director of Burchmore’s, has revealed what used car buyers want.

Burchmore’s sells thousands upon thousands of vehicles off its floor and on auction each year, and so it has a thorough understanding of the needs of used car buyers.

According to Jacobson, the first requirement is a reasonable price tag. “Cars between R90 000 and R120 000 are in extremely high demand; we are seeing the most trading within this sector of the market,” he reveals.

In this price sector specifically, brand is not necessarily a buying factor. “We are selling any brand within this price range, as it is the most popular price sector. When we receive stock in this price range, it generally sells within days. Buyers in this sector are concerned purely with price; the floor could be full of any brand and, if was priced in this range, it would sell,” says Jacobson.

Buyers also have no specific preference in terms of type of vehicle. “The demand is widespread – buyers want sedans, hatches, 4x4s and mom’s taxis,” he comments.

Within the R90 000 to R120 000 price range, some buyers are snapping up well spec’d cars at good prices. “For that price, you can buy an extremely good second-hand BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz, with every imaginable feature. The vehicle will be in great condition and represent good value for money.”

Moving slightly upwards in terms of pricing, Jacobson says buyers with around R160 000 to spend are looking for the smaller Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volvo and BMW models. “But, what differentiates these buyers is that they generally want a vehicle with some sort of motorplan,” he comments.

When it comes to buyers with over R200 000 to spend, the German luxury brands are still firm favourites. “However, we are also seeing massive demand for Jaguar products, Range Rovers and Volvo XC90s,” he notes.
The most sought-after accessory is a sunroof. “It is interesting to note that buyers generally rate a sunroof above safety features. We often experience buyers specifically looking for a car with a sunroof; we seldom come across buyers who demand specific safety features, which is surprising given the huge number accidents on South African roads. Of course, that could simply be because many modern cars come with these safety features as standard anyway,” Jacobson notes.

When it comes to specific brands, Jacobson says Toyota continues to rule the roost. “Any Toyota product will sell instantly. This remains the most sought-after brand – irrespective of the specific vehicle; they are all popular… from a Tazz to a Land Cruiser. The brand has the credibility and track record.”

Whereas a low-mileage car used to be important, this isn’t a factor any longer. “Kilometres are irrelevant. A car with extremely low kilometres on the clock will sell faster but buyers are generally not bothered about the mileage today,” Jacobson reveals.

Finally, buyers have not been scared away from brands that have experienced tumultuous times of late. “We have not seen any resistance to buying Chrysler or General Motors products,” Jacobson concludes.