Why South Africans are holding on to their cars for longer than before

09 October 2019 - 12:08 By AASA and Motoring Reporter
Tough economic times are seeing South African motorists hold on to their cars for much longer than before.
Tough economic times are seeing South African motorists hold on to their cars for much longer than before.
Image: P. Bauermeister/Bloomberg via Getty Images

More than 90 percent of South Africans say they are keeping their vehicles for longer due to the current economy, with just over 40 percent saying they are keeping their cars for between five and ten years. These are among the findings in the Automobile Association’s (AA) latest research conducted earlier this year, entitled “Going Further”.

“The purpose of the research was to determine if current economic factors are playing a role in vehicle ownership. The findings confirm anecdotal evidence that cars are being kept for longer. Just under 35 percent of people say they are keeping their vehicles for longer than ten years, which is a long lifespan for a vehicle,” says the AA.

Apart from economic reasons, more than 35 percent of respondents say they are also keeping their vehicles longer because newer models are more reliable. According to the data, more than 25 percent of primary vehicles are older than five years, and more than 30 percent are older than ten years.

“These results point to the increased need for better maintenance of vehicles, and for proper insurance. While our results indicate that more than 60 percent of the respondents have insurance, national data points to a much lower rate of 35 percent insurance. If this is indeed the case, there is a cause for concern, as insurance is part of a good maintenance plan for any car,” notes the AA.

Another interesting finding is that just under 50 percent of owners say they pay out of pocket for maintenance costs, with only about 20 percent saying they have maintenance plans for their vehicles. About 20 percent of owners say they actively save and plan for maintenance while about five percent say they don’t plan financially at all for maintenance expenses.

“These results confirm that too many people are relying on their car to never break down and, when it does, they would rather pay out of pocket than have a financial plan – such as a paid maintenance plan – in place. Having a maintenance plan, or service plan – even one which is not sourced from the original dealer – is easy to obtain and budget friendly,” says David Chard, MD of AA Warranties.

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