The Kinsey Report on parts pricing is now a quarter of a century old and provides a guideline to owners and prospective vehicle buyers on the costs involved in servicing, repairing and fixing accident damage. The 2014 report includes for the first time a section on entry-level single cab bakkies in addition to the traditional sections, and this year I have combined the City Cars and Entry level together. With 72 vehicles in the study this year, we have had to leave out a number of cars – some good sellers like the Renault Sandero which has a proven track record of reasonable pricing and other brands, where the yearly sales are either dwindling or very small.
There are a few surprises in this year’s results with new brands featuring in the top three positions. Many manufacturers and importers work extremely hard to improve the affordability of their vehicles. Volume plays a large part in pricing – and a new brand entering the local market inevitably has a low volume, but as this increases so does the need for parts, – so volume discounts from the parent company kick in. With new models, there is sometimes confusion with parts pricing until the electronic parts catalogues at the dealerships are stabilized and glitches are sorted out. Everything should be OK before your new vehicle needs parts (with the exception of crash parts if you are unlucky.)
Sourcing of parts is also crucial – a vehicle and parts sourced, say, from Europe, can have a vastly different cost structure from the same vehicle manufactured in some of the Eastern countries. India has shown itself to be a good source country recently with a number of brands featuring in the top four.
As always, the service/maintenance plans plays a big part in running costs up to 45,000km and more, as do the warranties offered by manufacturers. The cost of crash parts, however, is more critical – the insurance excess and write-off point of a vehicle are linked to the cost of an accident repair – and the panel beater’s bill can escalate very quickly even for a seemingly minor bump.
A point here, which could save a good few thousand rands of repair costs, is to not carry anything heavy on the passenger seat if it is not occupied. The vehicle can be “fooled” by those kilograms into deploying the airbag, which often breaks the windscreen – and that could be R20,000 more on the account.
As we have mentioned before, crash parts may seem similar, but the price says otherwise. Rear fenders, for example, on many vehicles extend from the front door apertures right to the back of the vehicle – a far cry from a panel round the back wheel!
Headlights too vary considerably from a fairly simple halogen lamp to high-intensity discharge systems costing R15,000 or more a side.
When buying an older vehicle, or when your own vehicle no longer has a warranty/maintenance plan in place, the cost of repairs becomes an important consideration. Clutches, for example, have become expensive to replace ( the advent of pricey dual-mass flywheels, which are known to give trouble sometimes), could turn a routine repair into a very expensive business.
It pays, in the long run, to do some solid investigation before buying, particularly a used vehicle.
City Cars and Entry Level:
This combined section consists of small modern cars, – several built out east – or “older” stalwarts which have stood the test of time. The leader here is the Ford Figo 1.4 (built in India) which wins hands down in the least expensive service, repair and crash parts. The Polo Vivo follows with affordable repair and crash parts, but pricey rear brake shoes push the servicing section up somewhat – the good news being that they should last for 50,000km. The third spot goes to the Honda Brio 1.2, some R10,000 more expensive than the first two, and just pipping the Toyota Etios by less than R200.
These modern high tech cars, a blend of European and Eastern styling, have pretty robust sales figures and plenty of support from the young, appearance-conscious market segment. Top honours go to Citroen’s DS3 VTi, helped in no small degree by having the least expensive crash parts. Peugeot 208 comes in 2nd with good pricing for servicing (second to Renault) and crash parts (second to Citroen). Third place race is narrowly won by the Hyundai, just R71 less expensive overall than the Renault Clio, which has the distinction of having the most affordable servicing basket.
This is one of the largest volume segments in the SA market and one of the biggest categories in the survey. The clear market leader is the Toyota Corolla, which with 2 models available, the Quest and the current Corolla, make up almost 2,000 sales per month. The Quest, which is the previous Corolla model, just edges out its more modern counterpart by less than R1,000. Toyota’s strength here lies in the very affordable accident repair costs which in some instances are half that of their competitors. This means that even quite old Corollas are often viable to repair.
In third place overall is the Hyundai Elantra, also third in crash parts costs, but competitive in both service (3rd) and repair parts prices (2nd).
The Ford EcoSport 1.0T wins this category – another Indian-built vehicle – and this new high tech vehicle has a 3 cylinder 999cc turbocharged engine producing over 90Kw. From the point of view of this pricing study though, its main strength lies in reasonably-priced crash parts to move it into the top spot. Second is an old favourite, the Toyota Avanza, almost at opposite ends of the technology field, which is able to remain competitive in the service parts costs and is comfortably ahead of the rest in the prices of its repair parts. Peugeot 2008 comes in third, also assisted by good crash parts prices.
This huge section probably accounts for a similar size slice of the market as the family favourites and is certainly one of the fastest growing segments of the market, as a trip to any shopping mall would confirm, fuel costs notwithstanding.
The Toyota Fortuner dominates this category with a massive overall lead of over R30,000 on second place, but one has to bear in mind that the Fortuner in the survey is an automatic and hence does not include clutch and flywheel prices. The second-placed Kia Sportage and 3rd placed Hyundai IX 35 both have expensive flywheels – R10,000 and R14,000 a pop – which if they are taken out of the equation, tend to narrow the gap a bit. Very affordable crash parts prices, however, still gives the Fortuner an unassailable advantage over its rivals.
India and China head off the Japanese onslaught in this section – Tata Xenon doing the honours again. Once more, affordable crash part prices are a very real factor keeping the Tata ahead. The GWM Steed likewise, is also very competitive in its crash parts and maintains its 2nd position in the category helped along by the lowest repair parts cost in the basket. In 3rd place is the Nissan NP 300 double cab, – still a good, reliable vehicle given its long lifespan in the SA marketplace.
This is a first – we highlight some of the base single cab models – 2 under 1-tonners in the NP 200 and the Chev Ute and 5 full 1-ton pick-ups.
And the winner here is the Nissan NP 200 followed by big brother the Nissan NP 300 Hardbody. Toyota Hilux comes in third and all these have picked up some benefit from the pricing of their accident parts.
As the category indicates, these are all high tech, automated, well-appointed cars which proudly represent some of the main manufacturers in the market. Priced between R400,000 and R577,000, the price of their parts is less likely to be of concern to their first-time owners, but may well be of interest when they reach the used car market.
Audi A4 just pips the Volvo S60 in a very close race, marginally beating the Volvo in each section. The Hyundai Sonata 2.4 follows closely in third.
This year we have seen some exceptionally close pricing, which indicates that manufacturers are very aware of the importance of competitive parts costing. A few surprise winners will probably cause a stir in some sectors.
The method of compiling this survey has not changed over the past 25 years. I first find out which vehicles the manufacturers and importers consider to be their highest volume sellers. Obviously, some of the really big players could have several vehicles in any one category if only based on the numbers sold, so there has to be as fair as possible a selection to include as much variety as is practical.
A list of parts is either taken to a dealer or emailed or faxed so that all quotes are written. Only queries are done telephonically. These days, for a large number of vehicles we actually supply a VIN number for the vehicle we want, which does away with any confusion as to which model we want.
The figures are what a customer should pay on the day the quotes were done – we ensure that all quotes are completed within the same calendar month to avoid end-of-month price hikes or reductions.
Download the detailed report here: