The latest bi-annual AutoTrader Car Industry Report shows that online vehicle searches on AutoTrader have reached a new record.
Covering the period from July 1 to December 31, 2020, the report notes that 276-million searches were conducted on AutoTrader, which is 54.1% growth year-on-year.
AutoTrader CEO George Mienie says 2020 saw an unprecedented interruption to the local automotive industry.
“2020 will be a year that will go down in history. Lockdown was the catalyst that is driving and – in many ways – forcing an accelerated change in the automotive industry.
“What would have taken years, suddenly started happening sooner.”
Mienie says there has been a “compression of the innovation curve” in the South African automotive industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in terms of automotive digital retailing.
“It is like we are being fast-forwarded. New automotive technologies, business models and thinking should begin to emerge in 2021,” he predicts.
The AutoTrader report also notes that the most searched for brand was once again BMW, which accounted for 15.4% of all car brand searches from July 1 to December 31.
Mercedes-Benz took second place from Volkswagen, with 14.8% of all car searches.
Volkswagen clocked in third, with 14.3% of all online searches.
The most searched for model – with 9.3-million searches – was the Toyota Hilux, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The BMW 3 Series, which was second in the previous AutoTrader Bi-Annual Car Industry Report, dropped to fourth place.
In an unusual move, used-car prices increased in the second half of 2020, says Mienie.
This can only be put down to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, as prices in the second half of the calendar year are historically lower.
In the second half of 2020, average used-car prices rose to R312 794, representing a 8.5% increase.
AutoTrader notes that there was a 10% reduction in used-car stock year-on-year, as new-car price increases and poor economic conditions pushed cash-strapped consumers to the used-car market.
The average mileage of vehicles sold was 70 429 km. This represents a 4.7% decrease.
The average model year of the cars sold was 2016.
The under-R200 000 price range was the most searched priced point.