The Kinsey Report this year is the largest to date, covering 69 vehicles – most of the additional vehicles being found in the increasingly popular Crossover category. It has come up with a few interesting surprises – vehicles which have not been known for competitive pricing in previous surveys have sneaked in ahead of past winners in 2013.
It might not be apparent to the prospective car buyer, but the motor industry is constantly trying to cut costs, both internally and in the cost of ownership for the customer. Some of this results from production rationalisation, by reducing the number of variants in engine and transmission, and also chassis or platforms on which the vehicles are built. Some manufacturers share complete vehicles such as the Peugeot 107, Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo and by doing this, obviously cut down on design and tooling costs, all well as increasing the production volume.
Another reason is that servicing and repair costs for new vehicles are staying in check until the vehicle is out of its specific service plan and warranty. The vehicle manufacturer is its own customer since virtually every vehicle sold these days has some element of a service or maintenance plan.
Important factors which influence parts pricing are the exchange rate and volume. The exchange rate effect is not immediate and usually takes some months to filter into the system. As the sales volumes increase the parent company may allow a greater discount for buying in bulk.
The source country may have a huge effect on the cost – one vehicle, built in both Spain and Taiwan, has a rear bumper costing R17,000 from Spain and R6,000 from Taiwan.
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The Competitions Board in SA has added another twist to the tail. Manufacturers may not set definitive prices for their goods – recommended retail sales prices are what the dealerships are given – so a dealership may mark the product up to whatever they feel the market will bear. We found one brand which had parts prices in Durban about 10% above the prices in Johannesburg and the same parts were as much as 20% higher in Cape Town than in Johannesburg!
In the 2013 Kinsey Report, we have tried to look at significant players in the market in either number of vehicles sold in June or vehicles that have a special place in terms of technology, driveability or even fashion. There is a huge surge in the sales of Crossover SUV vehicles as well as the smaller and medium hatches. Generally, if a car is available in 5-door or 4-door derivatives the hatch 5 door is considerably more popular in SA, – quite the opposite from the European trend.
The choice of manual or automatic transmissions is difficult – and if we reflect a manual version of a vehicle but a competitor in the same category is an automatic, it is pretty safe to subtract the cost of the clutch and pressure plate and flywheel from the manual vehicle and then compare “apples with apples”. In the Executive section, all the vehicles are automatic and I doubt that as much as 5% of sales are for manual shift models.
Sound advice when buying a new vehicle is to pay attention to the crash parts prices. You should not be in for any servicing or warranty costs for the first few years, but body repairs can hit you, literally, from day one. In the event of an accident, irrespective of who is to blame, the costs will affect your pocket either in the size of the excess you have to pay or where the write-off point is reached. Write-off point is generally about 70% of the value of the vehicle – and the value is not what the customer paid for the vehicle, but rather what he would get if he sold it. The vehicle owner can seldom replace his vehicle with a similar one with the insurance payout!
When buying an older vehicle, all the figures on the charts are significant because there will not be a maintenance plan to absorb the costs of servicing and repairs. It makes sense to shop around, ask for discounts, even check two different franchise dealerships to see if one has lower prices than the other. Most will give some discount and it all helps to stretch that beleaguered rand a bit further.
The categories, which were expanded and given name changes last year, have remained the same in 2013, but the number of vehicles in each may have changed, most particularly the Crossover which has increased from 9 to 15 vehicles, reflecting the enormous growth in popularity of these multi-purpose vehicles.
As usual, there are three sections for each vehicle and a total of the three:
Service parts – the oil, air, pollen filters, brake pads and shoes, wiper blades, – items required for general servicing and maintenance.
Then there are the repair items – more costly and required less frequently, like new brake discs and drums, shocks and in the case of manual transmission cars, the clutch components.
Crash parts are the unknown quantity – maybe you’ll need them, maybe not, but as discussed earlier they are important, even for those whose vehicles are comprehensively insured.
There is a percentage calculation used, mainly for interest, since it does not affect the actual cost of the parts. This takes the value of the parts basket divided by the selling price of the vehicle. For instance, a car selling for R120,000 and having a parts basket of R60,000 will reflect a percentage of 50% – i.e. the cost of the parts are half the value of the car!
Unless the parts are phenomenally expensive, the higher the selling price of the vehicle, the lower will be the percentage of parts price basket to the selling price. Conversely, many of the smaller cars like those in the City Cars, Entry and Super Mini categories, tend to have a higher percentage figure.
These small and often mid-tech cars are normally aspirated and all sourced from “the East” – India, Korea, China and Japan, – and cost on average R120,000 with engine displacement ranging from 990cc to 1500cc.
The Nissan Micra once again takes number 1 spot with a total basket price of R32,517, – 25% of its selling price. Next is the Suzuki Alto, also in the same position as last year and third the Tata Indica, which this year has pipped the Hyundai i10 for third-best total basket cost. The Indica also boasts the lowest servicing costs followed by the Spark and GWM C10.
Repair parts winner is the Chev Spark, just R110 less than the Micra and in third is the Tata Indica. Crash parts costs mimic the overall basket leaders – 1st Nissan Micra, 2nd Suzuki Alto and 3rd Tata Indica.
These are the older technology vehicles, – stalwarts which have become favourites with economy-minded customers who prefer larger bodied cars which will comfortably manage 4 solid passengers and engine sizes of 1.4 or 1.5 litres. Prices here average R125,000.
The winner is the Ford Figo, ahead of the VW Polo Vivo and the Renault Sandero with just R900 separating the 2nd and 3rd placed cars. The percentage calculation, using a parts basket to the selling price, shows results in the same order, with the Figo at 31.67%.
The Sandero sneaks a win by R60 from the Figo in the servicing parts with the Toyota Etios third. Repair parts will set you back R7,200 for the Figo, R8,000 for the Polo and R9500 for the Sandero. The crash parts section again sees the Figo taking the honours from Vivo and Sandero.
This is the second largest category, consisting of 11 vehicles, and produced a surprise winner, both in overall parts basket cost and the percentage calculation – the new Peugeot 208. Its total basket cost of R52,247 is some R5,000 less than the basket cost of another unexpected contender, the Fiat Punto. In fact, this category has pretty much turned on its head with the first 3 places all being newcomers – 3rd place being the new Renault Clio 4 0.9 Turbo. The i10, Sonic, Polo and Yaris all sit comfortably in mid-field.
In the servicing stakes the Kia Rio heads off the VW Polo and Fiat Punto, but with no large advantage. The gaps are a bit more substantial in the repair section, however, – the Chev Sonic is a good R1,000 less expensive than the VW Polo 1.6 and the Fiat Punto considerably more pricey than the Polo.
The least expensive car for crash parts is the Peugeot 208 followed by the Renault Clio and Fiat Punto.
Nissan Tiida again takes the glory in this group, still by a large margin. The Tiida has apparently taken over the mantle of the old entry level Citi Golf, which nothing could dislodge until it was discontinued in November 2009! With a basket total of R47,015, the Tiida has an advantage of some R20,000 on the 2nd and 3rd placed Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra, both at over R67,000.
Servicing kudos go to the Elantra though with a photo finish between the Kia Cerato and Tiida for second and third.
Repair items in this category are least expensive for the Chevrolet Cruze at R8,311 followed by the Tiida at R9,965 and the Cerato at R10,734.
Crashing a Family Favourite will hurt your pocket least if you are driving a Tiida, next best being the Toyota Corolla and 3rd the Hyundai Elantra.
By percentage, once again the Tiida wins, but by the slimmest of margins from the Alfa Giulietta ( .19% ) with the Corolla in a consistent 3rd.
This is a small section catering for the under R250,000 family runabouts, – the ideal mom’s taxi with lots of space and fewer frills. In the top spot is the Toyota Avanza with a total parts basket of R60,762, comfortably ahead of the Nissan Livina at R74,168 and the Suzuki SX4. By percentage, the Suzuki is the leader at 32.87% with Avanza and Livina 2nd and 3rd.
The Daihatsu Terios, the 4th vehicle in this category, has the least expensive servicing basket at R2,794 with the Avanza only R87 behind and the Livina in third.
The Toyota Avanza has a hefty advantage in both the repair and crash sections – repair parts total R8,093 compared to over R12,500 for the second-placed Suzuki and almost R13,500 for the Livina in third. Crash parts for the Avanza are just under R50,000, a touch above R74,000 for the Livina and R79,000 for the Suzuki SX4.
This is by far the largest section in the Kinsey Report 2013 – the popularity of these versatile vehicles has continued to grow enormously. The range is pretty wide and so is the price, – from upwards of R250,000 to R500,000.
The Crossover category is won soundly by the Toyota Fortuner 3.0 D4D with a total basket price of R68,022 and a percentage calculation of only 15.85% With some thousand Fortuners sold every month this has a big impact on the market. Second place goes to the Kia Sportage at R83,099 and third the Nissan Qashqai at R83,788. One should take into account when reading these figures that the first 2 have automatic transmissions, so their baskets benefit by having no prices for clutch, pressure plate and flywheel and the Nissan does not offer an automatic variant, so is carrying a penalty of R4,500 plus for those 3 components. Two more manual vehicles, the Citroen C4 Aircross and Peugeot 3008 take 4th and 5th spots.
Service costs for these large SUV’s are in many cases, not much more expensive than their smaller cousins. Best priced is the Mitsubishi ASX at R2,804, followed by the Peugeot 3008 at R2,933 and the Kia Sportage at R3,161.
Repair prices will set you back R5,496 if you are driving a Fortuner, and just over R6,200 for the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Subaru Forester, – all three of them automatics.
Crash parts cost saver goes again to the Toyota Fortuner at R59,042 with the Peugeot 3008 hot on its back bumper at R60,315 and the Nissan Qashqai at R67,596.
Some basket totals in this section are pretty heavy but it needs to be said that it rather goes with the territory. Here’s where looking at the percentages of basket price to selling price of the vehicle has merit – and where the BMW X3 and the Land Rover Freelander have the most expensive basket totals, they are also the most expensive to buy, so their percentages are not particularly out of line.
This is another popular section, – this year with one addition in the Mitsubishi Triton. For the second year, the lead vehicles are the Indian and Chinese imports – Tata Xenon heading the field at R47,823 and the GWM Steed following with a total parts basket of R53,909. Third, and by far the best-seller, is the Toyota Hilux at R71,866. The Toyota wins the percentage competition with a low 18.47 %, second is the Tata and third the Isuzu KB300.
The Steed just outdoes the Tata for service costs – R2,243 to R2,354 and the Mitsubishi Triton, which came a creditable 4th overall has a basket price of R2,847. The same order applies to the servicing parts, but with somewhat larger gaps between them.
The accident repair picture shows the Xenon out front at R35,443, the Steed at R41,805 and the Toyota Hilux at R53,975.
It’s quite an interesting point that none of the double cabs has a percentage figure of 30% or higher, even though they are all manual vehicles so there is a price for every part on the list. Parts pricing seems realistically set for these working-type vehicles, which in some instances are chosen with less emotionalism and more with an eye to the cost of ownership.
This is the final grouping – all luxury automatic cars with high technology and specifications.
And the winner is the BMW 328i with a combined parts basket of R98,807 and a winning percentage of 21.01%. Second is the Audi A4 at R108,801 and a third-placed percentage figure of 27.9%. The 3rd best parts basket goes to the Honda Accord at R118,183, just nudging the Lexus into 4th overall, though the Lexus comes in 2nd in the percentage calculation with 26.4%.
The parts for servicing these executives will cost R3,685 if you drive a Mercedes C200, R4,133 for a Volvo S60 and R4,564 for the Honda Accord.
Repair parts obviously do not include clutch parts and flywheel and the three least expensive in this section – BMW, (R7,536) Mercedes (R7,798) and Volvo (R7,866), – all finish pretty closely.
Crash parts are less closely bunched – BMW still is best at R86,542, from Audi and Lexus.
But these cars are not bought for the economy of their parts, so I doubt whether the owner of any of these superb vehicles is remotely concerned with these figures. However, the second or third owner down the line might not take them quite so lightly!