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Buying and selling cars in Namibia during COVID-19

Remember 2014, Namibia? It’s like the memory of that roadtrip where you and your buddies piled in someone’s banged up, but still dependable, old hand-me-down car. Life was good, the trip was awesome, memories were made that won’t ever be forgotten. Especially when compared to any of the years since. If those memories were a (well used) car, today that car is rusted through, sun-bleached, and probably standing on blocks in someone’s backyard. Like that car, the car industry has gone downhill since 2015.

Car sales have been struggling to reach the heights of the period between 2008 and 2014. Yearly reports from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers South Africa (which also reports on the Namibian market) indicate that since 2015 sales of new cars have been on a decrease year on year. January 2020 recorded sales of a mere 671 new cars, a 6% drop from December 2019. Passenger vehicles suffered the most, with only 291 cars finding new owners. This has meant that people who are able to afford cars are likely looking at the second-hand market as their primary source of obtaining a “new” vehicle. Where does that leave the industry?

The stark reality is that, whether people want to buy new cars or pre-owned cars, banks are not terribly keen on giving people loans at this time. This makes it difficult to finance a vehicle on your own or qualify for financing with the help of a dealer. At the same time, dealers could struggle to provide customers with adequate trade-in value in this economy. Whether they provide buyers with new or used cars, they need to tailor their prices for what people can afford. In the current economy, dealers are incentivised to price their models aggressively. That incentive? Survival.

This does mean that when wanting to trade in your current vehicle, you might have to settle for less than would normally be the case. Keep in mind that the entire used car industry, like most industries, runs on supply-and-demand principles. If people stop buying cars, dealers won’t be able to offer good deals on trade-ins. When this happens, it becomes more difficult to sell your car, which in turn makes it hard to buy a new car.

In this climate it is imperative for both parties to work closely together for their mutual benefit. Dealers want to remain in business, offering employment and stimulus to the economy. Customers want good deals on their vehicles. We don’t want to go back to a time where cars are luxury items for society’s elite. To ensure the wheel keeps turning smoothly, it is necessary for both parties to take hands and support one another through these trying times.

Thankfully, there has been a slow up-tick in car sales since May 2020. According to IJG Research Namibia, these numbers are still lower than at the same time last year, however dealers are able to complete more and more sales. Hopefully this is the start of the road to recovery, and not simply a blip on a graph. As we all know, no grand prix is won on the first lap.

Published on 23.06.2020 by NamCars.net

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