The 2015 Kinsey Report covers 74 vehicles in nine categories – the same number of vehicles as last year but with the Crossover section, which had become seriously unwieldy, now separated into two – Crossover and Executive Crossover.
The method of data capture remains unchanged, with all prices collected within the same calendar month, including VAT. Prices are sourced almost exclusively from franchise dealers around Durban, to replicate as closely as possible what the customer would experience. Where possible we provided a VIN number for the exact vehicle required. For the customer, it is very important to take note of the VIN number found on all vehicles when getting a quote for any parts required (left bottom corner of the windscreen – a 17-digit alfa numeric code that identifies every component of the vehicle). This will ensure that everything from trim to engine, gearbox, tyres etc will be specific to your model vehicle and with all the variations on the market, this makes part identification both easier and more precise.
Shopping around can still pay dividends. Manufacturers are only allowed to set a “recommended selling price” while individual dealerships may charge whatever they feel is fair and reasonable. Large volume sellers are competitively easy to compare prices but the lower volume brands may only have a single franchise and getting a “second quote” may involve considerable travelling.
This year’s Kinsey Report shows some alarmingly high prices which I don’t think can be blamed entirely on the deteriorating rand. There are instances where items like mag rims and windscreens cost R10,000 and more. Admittedly there are cases where we are not comparing like for like – an example of this is the rear fender, which may be just that or a complete side with door apertures. Bakkies are also awkward in that some manufacturers offer sides for the load box while others offer only the complete load box – which obviously is going to be far more costly.
Obviously, comparisons must be made with similar vehicles, in the same or similar category since the physical size of the part will also affect its cost structure.
This year we have dropped some vehicles and included others which were absent from last year’s report. The choice is so huge and one has to be selective. Consideration is given to the NAAMSA monthly sales figures which reflect the volume of sales for each vehicle. Some “iconic” vehicles are also included even though their sales are not in the Polo/Corolla league.
The area of crash parts is probably the most important in this study – most certainly the most costly. Servicing and warranties plans cover most costs for as much as 120,000km (Mercedes) but the moment you drive your new vehicle out of the showroom you and your insurance company are potentially liable to enormous costs. Vehicles with aluminium body panels and chassis components, for example, are complicated and very expensive to repair and some are even written off when the repair costs reach 50% of the resale value of the vehicle. The use of alloy is very “in” at present – ostensibly to lighten the vehicle and thus improve fuel consumption. This is a false environmental greening effort since aluminium requires much more energy to produce and recycle than steel does, which in my opinion negates the advantages.
Other items that show big discrepancies include fan belts and flywheels. Some vehicles are now fitted with fan belts which resemble large elastic bands. They never need tensioning or adjusting, but unfortunately cannot be re-used if say, the engine is stripped.
Flywheels in some vehicles are a double mechanism connected by a series of strong springs. These dual mass flywheels can cost over R10,000 and unfortunately, some have a fairly limited lifespan – sometimes only 80 – 120,000 km – before they begin to rattle and require replacing. The replacement of clutch and flywheel can cost R20,000 to R30,000 and is not generally covered and is not generally covered by warranty and service plans.
Results in Categories:
It is interesting to note how engine capacities have dropped to comply with emission regulations. Several 1.0 and 1.2-litre turbocharged engines are now in vogue.
CITY CARS AND ENTRY LEVEL: 11 cars
The new Datsun GO is a clear winner here with a parts basket of R37631 (and a low selling price of R102,500). It’s a great first-time purchase, making owning a new car affordable. It may lack a few refinements like ABS brakes and airbags, but it’s a solid little vehicle for basic transport. Second overall in parts is the Nissan Micra at R44,479 (both these 2 sourced from India) and third is the Polo Vivo at R49,805.
Best for servicing parts is the 4th placed Ford Figo followed by the Micra and Spark. The GO shines in repair parts and crash parts with Micra second and Figo 3rd in repair parts and Go, Micra and Polo Vivo taking the top three spots in crash parts.
SUPER MINI: 10 cars
The Renault Sandero (R65,517) narrowly pips the Fiat 500 (R65,738) with the Peugeot a not-too-distant 3rd with a parts basket of R67,463.
The least expensive car to service is the 7th placed Polo, some R250 less than the Sandero in second place, followed by the Fiat.
In the repair portion, you are better off with a Fiat 500 while accident parts costs are lowest for the Sandero, followed by the Peugeot 208 and Fiat.
FAMILY FAVOURITES: 9 cars
A pair of real family favourites, two Toyota Corollas take 1st and 2nd – the Prestige just edging out the Quest at R67,078 and R69,466. Third is the Alfa Giulietta which always seems to surprise with its competitiveness.
Most economical to service is the VW Golf 7,( 6th overall) followed by the Hyundai Elantra, both substantially less than the Corollas.
In the repair section, the Elantra and Kia Cerato are tops, with the Golf in the third spot.
The Corollas come into their own with substantially less expensive crash parts, over R15,000 better than the third-placed Alfa. It’s important that if the purchase price of a vehicle is comparatively low that the crash parts are inexpensive to avoid reaching the write-off point. With any insurance, you are still better off repairing than writing off the vehicle as you are seldom paid out enough to replace your vehicle and end up having to pay in a considerable amount. The Alfa, with a more expensive selling price, is one of only two cars in the survey with a parts basket to selling price percentage of under 20%.
COMPACT CROSSOVER: 4 vehicles
The Toyota Avanza heads up this class with a parts basket of R67,786, ahead of the Ford Eco Sport, one of the latest 1-litre Turbo engine vehicles. Third is the Renault Duster.
The Duster is the least expensive vehicle to service followed by the Avanza and new Citroen Cactus 1.2.(4th)
The Avanza is substantially less pricey for both repair and crash parts, with the Renault Duster second in repair parts and the Eco Sport second in crash parts. Citroen has come up with an innovative idea to deal with minor scratches – the Cactus has plastic panels on the sides of the vehicle which are capable of absorbing impacts of about 3 km/hr, like supermarket trolley damage. These can be individually replaced when necessary.
CROSSOVER: 10 vehicles
Toyota’s Fortuner heads the list here once more with a parts basket of R77,413 compared with the second-placed Kia Sportage at R92,992 and the Toyota Rav 4 at R97,708.
Most economical Crossover to service is the Mitsubishi ASX followed by the Hyundai ix35 and the Nissan X Trail.
Repair cost honours go to the Fortuner just ahead of the Chev Trailblazer (4th overall), both well ahead of the 3rd placed Kia Sportage.
Fortuner is also the most economical in the crash parts section by close to R14,000, followed by the Sportage and Rav 4. As a percentage of basket price to the selling price, the Fortuner has the lowest figure in the survey at 16%.
EXECUTIVE CROSSOVER: 7 vehicles
These are the real top dog SUVs and I felt they warranted a class of their own. Priced at over R750,000, and all automatic, the parts prices are probably more of academic than economic interest to their owners but might be an eye-opener to many others of us.
The winner here is the Volvo XC 90 with a total parts basket price of R164,508, followed by the Audi Q7 and close on its heels the Toyota Prado. All these vehicles have extensive service plans and it is only if they are kept for a long time or run up very high mileages that the cost of servicing could become an issue.
Volvo has the lowest service parts cost at R4,810, followed by the Range Rover Evoque (4th ) and the Prado.
In the repair section, the Evoque has the least expensive basket ahead of the Quattro and the Volvo. The Toyota Prado is severely hampered by having very expensive shock absorbers which make the repair basket the most expensive of the group but is able to pull back to a competitive position by having the lest costly crash parts ahead of the Volvo and Audi.
DOUBLE CABS: 8 vehicles
Here three countries of origin compete for the top position. India wins with the Tata Xenon ( basket price of R58,527) followed by Japan with the Toyota Hilux Raider (R85,986) and China’s GWM Steed 6 (R89,437).
The GWM has the most competitive service costs at R2,269 ahead of the Tata and Isuzu KB300 ( 4th overall).
Repair parts winner is the VW Amarok – though it must be noted here that most Amarok D/C sales are with automatic gearboxes, so there are no clutch and pressure plate and flywheel prices in the list, as with the manual transmissions. GWM comes second.
Crash parts sees Tata Xenon as the clear winner by more than R20,000 on second-placed Toyota Raider
SINGLE CABS: 8 vehicles
We are not exactly comparing apples with apples here since we are have included 2 half-tonne bakkies in with 6 full tonners. The Nissan NP 200, with a parts basket of R47,026, just pips its larger brother NP 300 Hardbody for the first spot. Third is the other “small fry” the Chev Utility 1.4 Club.
Servicing honours go to Nissan Hardbody, a scant R23 from the Np 200 with the Chev Ute in third. The Chev Ute retaliates by having the best repair parts basket ahead of the two Nissans. And in the crash parts, it’s the two Nissans in 1 – 2 position again.
However, it is interesting to look at the rest of the bakkies in this section – the one tonners – the Isuzu 250 leads the Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT 50, Ford Ranger 2.2 and VW Amarok.
EXECUTIVE SALOONS; 7 cars
The first 3 places are very closely contested – R2,500 separated them in their parts basket prices. The leader is the BMW 320, followed by the Audi A4 and The Infiniti Q50, which is a first timer in the Kinsey Report. All these vehicles are automatic, so there are no pricey clutch and flywheel costs. Audi comes out top in the servicing section ahead of the Infiniti and all the cars are within a thousand rand or so. The repair portion has the Infiniti well ahead with a larger range of costs. The crash parts costs reflect the overall basket – 1st to the BMW, 2nd to the Audi and 3rd to the Infinity.
Download the detailed report: