top of page

Not all second hand car dealers were created equal

We all know that second-hand car salesmen don’t have the best reputation in the world. Some of them most certainly deserve the labels assigned to them. Labels like 'lying', 'conniving' and 'dishonest'. But some of them do honest and transparent business, trying to find the fine balance between a fair buying and selling price. They work hard to keep all their clients happy. We are part of the latter group. I know many of my friends are not au fait with the buying and selling of cars, so please allow me to explain the following:

Say you approach a small car dealership – let’s call them Tall Tree Motors – with a car that you want to sell. First of all, remember that you may have an emotional bond with your car, the dealer doesn’t. So, when said dealer walks around your car and points out obvious problems with the car, do not take it personally because it simply isn’t. The dealer HAS to point out these faults to you because he is the one that is going to have to fix it before he can sell the car. You can’t call dealers names like ‘tyre kickers’ or ‘sharks’ when they do this! (More about this later).

Secondly, when the owner of Tall Tree Motors shows you the trade and retail price of the car and makes you an offer for your car, it is YOUR prerogative to accept or decline the offer. So, if your car’s ‘book value’ is R70K and you are ok with accepting that amount for your car, THAT is the amount that you have agreed upon! You cannot call Tall Tree Motors dishonest or ‘shady’ after the fact, when you see them advertising 'your' car for R99K for example - accusing them of ‘stealing money’ and making a ‘huge’ profit! You agreed to the price - no one put a gun against your head.

Let’s talk about that ‘profit’ that you immediately calculated in your head as being R29K in the bank right? Remember that tyre kicking? Well, the dealer has to fix all the faults that he has ‘kicked out’ before he can sell the car. You may not know this, but having a scratched bumper or door panel repaired is NOT cheap! If the windscreen is chipped, it is fixed and if its cracked beyond repair it has to be replaced completely. A simple thing like a parcel tray of a Hyundai Atos for example, costs a small fortune. The dealer also has to service the car if it hasn’t been serviced the same year that he bought the car in - we all know that’s not cheap! The car has to be valeted and small things like missing knobs and carpets and not so small things like hub caps have to be replaced – more money down the drain. If the car's license disc is behind it is also the dealer's responsibility to pay all penalties to get the car registered in his name. The dealer also pays for the AA Dekra roadworthy certificate. And so the Rands add up...

Don’t forget about Tall Tree Motors’ overheads! They have an office which automatically means expenses like rent (whether it’s for an office or for their bond if they work from home), electricity and water and big-ticket office items like laptops, PC’s, printers, laminators, etc. They also have to pay for Wi-Fi, infrastructure and travel costs. Marketing and advertising cost a pretty penny and other expenses like cell phone bills, printing costs, business cards and stationery expenses can push overheads into thousands of Rands each month. Not to mention that time is money!

Furthermore, you know that big company that’s all over SA that buys and sells cars? Yes, THAT one. Chances are that if you take the exact same car that Tall Tree Motors wanted to pay you R70K for to them, THAT company will offer you at least R10K less – sometimes even R20K less! But because they are a big and well-known brand and you can drive in with your car and drive out with the cash, people use them and seldom call them dishonest. Yet they are notoriously known for shrugging people off when their cars break down only hours after they were driven out their gates because their cars are sold on ‘auction’ so the CPA doesn’t apply! But when Tall Tree Motors offers you much more than THAT company, you say they are taking advantage of you? Also, THAT company buys and sells thousands of cars each month. Tall Tree Motors not so much...

Here’s the cherry on the cake: When you sell your car to Tall Tree Motors and drive off with the R70K cash they paid for it, said vehicle is not your problem anymore. You have your money and that car is not your responsibility. Not so with Tall Tree Motors. When they sell your car and that problem you knew about but didn’t say anything (or even a problem you didn’t know about) causes the car to break down, guess who has to take responsibility for it? Most certainly not you! That is now Tall Tree Motors’ problem for 6 months.

So, if you take all of the above into regard, that R29K “profit” is not R29K AT ALL! Yet, Tall Tree Motors gets labelled as greedy and ‘typical car sales people’ and even 'preying on the innocent' but no one has gone through the trouble to sit down and really think about the situation. I hope that I made you think today. I also hope that when you sell a car, and YOU agree to accept the price, you will take your money and go and not badmouth honest car sales people who have to make a living, yet have to be fair to their buying and selling customers at the same time. It is not an easy feat, let me assure you!

Lastly, if you want to buy or sell a car and you are looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack aka an honest and reasonable car salesman, call Christo Kruger today. He will be happy to help, whether you’re looking for a nippy little fuel saver or a luxury vehicle with a million Rand price tag – he has done it all! And he has very happy customers to show for it. Visit see for yourself or contact him on 0735276980.


bottom of page