New and used car inflation has slowed to its lowest level this year, touching 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent respectively, according to the TransUnion Q3 Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI).
"Both the new and used markets remain relatively strong with the used market having experienced positive growth of 4.1 percent for the quarter. According to Naamsa, new passenger sales increased by 12.5 percent year-on-year in August, and we expect this double digit trend to continue for the remainder of this year," said Mike von Höne, CEO of TransUnion Auto.
The lower growth in the used market has led to a further narrowing of the sales ratio between new and used cars. Analysis of TransUnion's vehicle financial registration data reveals that the ratio of used to new vehicles financed is now 1.63 used cars for every new car financed in August, down from 1.88 in May.
"Interestingly, around 80 percent of all new and used cars financed are priced at less than R200 000. When one considers that only 15.5 percent of all new cars fall within this price bracket, and 66.5 percent cost more than R300 000, it's clear that consumers remain extremely price sensitive," von Höne said.
"This appears to be impacting on dealers. In a market that remains exceptionally competitive, dealers are buying and retailing further behind the TransUnion Auto Dealers' Guide values."
TransUnion dealer return information indicates that the premium and budget used sectors are experiencing the most pressure — the premium market because of the narrowing price gap between new and used cars while the budget sector is being driven by high levels of competition between dealers, brands and marques.
Published quarterly by vehicle risk intelligence company, TransUnion Auto Information Solutions, the VPI measures the year-on-year price inflation of a market weighted basket of new and used vehicles. The VPI is calculated from data received by TransUnion on vehicle financing registrations from all of the major banks and vehicle finance houses as well as monthly sales returns from thousands of dealers throughout the country.