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2011 Kinsey Report

There are a few surprises this year with some vehicles having price hikes quite a bit higher than the claimed inflation rate. We have also seen several facelifts in this survey.

Some new vehicles have been included – such as the VW Amarok, GWM Steed 3, Tata Xenon,  Daihatsu Terios, Chery Tiggo and the up-market Audi Q5. Mainly though, we have tried to stick with the volume sellers, asking manufacturers to give us the best seller in their stable, so that we are able to be of interest to a wider audience.

The parts list has changed slightly, – no more clutch release bearing, which varies considerably in different vehicles and can be simply a slide-on bearing or may incorporate the clutch fork and slave cylinder, with a corresponding price range from about R200 to R3,000.

We have also dropped the exterior mirror which has been used previously, since it varies from a complete unit to a bare framework without covers, motors etc.  and prices differ accordingly. We have included an alternator this year instead.
51 vehicles are covered in the 2011 Kinsey Report, where possible taking the better sellers from the range offered for sale. There is always the danger of generalization, but I will do so anyway – if one vehicle from a manufacturer’s range is reasonably priced then the other vehicles in that range should follow the trend.

The latest Nissan Micra imported to SA is made in India and its pricing tends to buck the system somewhat.  Vehicles from Korea, India and China are often less expensive and appear to give excellent value and their quality is constantly improving, but they will have to prove their endurance capabilities over the next few years. Local content also relieves the parts pricing costs somewhat and give home-grown vehicles some pricing advantage.

As always, all parts prices are sourced from the normal vehicle dealerships and are the suggested retail prices, excluding any negotiable discount, and all prices include VAT. Some dealerships have a nett pricing policy which prevents any possibility of discounting. All prices are sourced during the same month to alleviate possible price changes at the end of a month.

Some of the glass prices are quoted from P.G. Auto Glass, where a manufacturer ( like Ford and Mazda,) –  does not stock windows and windscreens – and the price quoted is the supply price only, unfitted, and also includes VAT.
There are no hybrid vehicles in the survey, mainly due to their low sales volumes, and obviously, there are no hybrid-specific parts in the basket. When comparing, for example, a hybrid Honda Jazz with a conventional Honda Jazz model, much of the car is common to both, – body, engine, suspension, brakes etc. Major differences are the battery pack and electric motor.  Toyota says the battery pack in their hybrid Prius should outlast the 7-year warranty.

The individual results for the classes this year are sorted again in the least expensive to most expensive parts basket. This is the simplest way of telling at a glance what each basket will cost the consumer. But the percentage of price basket divided by the vehicle selling price is also included and still is a worthwhile statistic. It is interesting that the vehicle with the lowest priced parts basket is often also at the better end of the percentage scale. It must be remembered that the parts basket percentage is directly linked to the price of the vehicle – an expensive vehicle makes the percentage figure look “better” and a less expensive one increases the ratio of parts prices to selling price and makes the percentage higher.
There are 6 categories of vehicle and only the “Crossover” category is a bit of a mix-up, with a huge spread of price and quality – vehicles costing from R166,000 to R500,000. The trick here is to compare vehicles of a similar price range in the area that is affordable.

The charts reflect the cost of servicing parts in Section A, repair parts in B, and finally, the largest section, crash parts in C – crash parts probably of greatest importance since insurance premiums and excesses are calculated on the reparability of the vehicle.

Service and maintenance plans which are generally built into the cost of a new vehicle may vary so the service intervals and service life can influence the choice of vehicle. Tata, for example, has 25,000km service intervals so only 4 services are required to 100,00km, while vehicles with 15,000km service intervals would need 6. Spark plugs can require changing anywhere between 30,000km and 160,000km ( Chrysler 100,000 miles)

All classes are broken into Service, Repair and Crash parts from which the final total is calculated. I have not given a detailed breakdown in the classes below but it is interesting to compare vehicles in each of these subtotals as well as overall. Some may have competitive prices for both service and repair sections but may lose out by having expensive body parts. Some are very closely matched while others show substantial variations.

Entry Level

This category is quite disturbing – I find it goes against the grain to refer to a car costing over R120,000 as an Entry Level car, but that’s inflation for you. To make matters worse, there are several cars available on the market priced at under R98,700, but they have low sales volumes so they have not been included in the study.

The new Nissan Micra 1.2 has taken the honours here –  priced at R108,400 it is the third “cheapest” of the 6 in this class and the model brought to SA is made in India, which has much to do with its cost structure. Its parts basket is a very competitive R24,880  which puts it well ahead of the rest and also has the lowest percentage value at 22.95%. Second is the Chevrolet Spark Lite at R38,746. Third lowest parts basket is claimed by the VW Polo Vivo at R41,434, taking second place  –  32.5%  –  as a percentage ratio. Third, as a percentage, thanks to its high selling price, is the Tata Indica, at 33.5% but it is 5th overall in the cost of its parts.

“B” Segment

Eight cars in this section retailing from R124,000 to R198,000.The Renault Sandero, locally built at the Nissan plant at Rosslyn comes in with the lowest priced basket at R36,881 (as well as the lowest retail selling price) and is 3rd in the percentage stakes at 29.5%. Taken on retail selling price the Sandero could have fitted into the Entry Level class, but both body and engine size make it more suitable for inclusion in Class B. Second lowest parts basket goes to the Ford Fiesta 1.4 at R41,214 and the best of the percentage table at 25.1%. Third is the Hyundai i20 with a basket cost of R43,849, and 2nd in percentage. Citroen C3, VW Polo 1.4 and Honda Jazz follow.

“C” Segment

For the first time in 3 years, the Nissan Tiida has been displaced from its No.1 position to finish second in both parts basket and percentage. The double winner this year is the Ford Focus 2.0, with a basket costing R46,995 and 19.9% of its selling price. The Tiida follows closely with a basket of R48,668 and 21%. Third in the parts basket cost is the Kia Cerato at R59,833, and third in the percentage is the Alfa Giulietta 1.4 at 22.4%.

Family Sedan

Only 6 vehicles here and all are automatics. The winner in both sections is the Volvo S40 with a basket cost of R84,295 and a percentage of 22.8%. Second in the parts basket section is the BMW320i at R87,346 and narrowly beaten into 3rd in the percentages by 0.4% by the Honda Accord. The Honda was third in parts basket price at R90,426.


This is the biggest and most diverse segment with no fair way of comparing “apples with apples”. It begins with “Mom’s Taxis” like the Nissan Lavina and Toyota Avanza costing less than R170,000 and culminates in sophisticated SUVs like the Land Rover Freelander,  Chevrolet Captiva and Audi Q5 at close to R500,000. Odd man out is the Chery Tiggo at under R200,000.

The Daihatsu Terios at R260,000 is somewhat less pricey than the “around R300,000” club consisting of the Kia Sportage, Hyundai iX35, Subaru Forester 2.5 and the Nissan X Trail, all of which could be compared on a basis of price at least. The Honda CRV2.4 falls a bit between price ranges and could probably be included with either of the top two price groups for the purposes of comparison.

It is important to take into account that the crossover vehicles have even more variations. They may be available in either 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive and often have petrol or turbo diesel options, – so the choice becomes even wider. Plus there are some with 5 or 7 seater configurations for differing passenger loads.

Double Cabs

This is a bigger section than last year, – we now have a really multi-national selection, with Japan, Germany, India and China represented. Again there is a very large discrepancy in purchase prices, ranging from R140,000 to R351,000.
The double cabs with the lowest parts basket prices are the Tata Xenon at R41,059 and the GWM Steed 3 at R43,280 and the locally built Ford Ranger in third at R47,553. The Mazda BT50 has the best percentage figure at 14.4% followed by the Ford Ranger at 18.5% and the Tata Xenon at 18.7%.

As with most things, it pays to do your homework before you buy. Don’t always follow your heart, for as most of us have found out emotions can prove to be very misleading guidelines.

Service intervals, parts availability, trade-in values and much more should be taken into account, including the distance you anticipate travelling. If the vehicle is going to cover 50,000 – 60,000km a year, the running costs will have a far wider impact on cost structures than a “weekend” vehicle that won’t see its first service in 12 months.

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