13 August 2014: With forecasts for strong growth in the second-hand vehicle market, this year, WesBank reminds buyers that value in the pre-owned market can be found in more places than the classifieds sections of the local newspapers.
In partnership with some of South Africa’s most reputable auctioneers, the country’s leading vehicle and asset finance house also hosts weekly vehicle auctions at venues around the country – including its own, in Midrand, Gauteng. Here, buyers can bid on a wide variety of passenger cars, bakkies, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). WesBank also hosts a combined luxury vehicle and motorcycle auction on the last Thursday of every month.
While often considered industry events, WesBank reminds consumers that auctions are open to both dealers as well as members of the public, and that these are an excellent way for buyers to secure potential bargains. However, many private buyers might not be aware of their frequency, the ins and outs of bidding, or how to close a private deal at an auction.
A wide variety of models are on offer at auctions, and private buyers could obtain a vehicle at a competitive price.
“Auctions are open for all to attend, and we absolutely want the buying public involved,” says Rudolf Mahoney, head of research at WesBank. “There are definitely bargains to be had – consumers just need to be keep in mind that a little research needs to be done.”
What you see is what you get
All vehicles sold on auction are sold with no duty to repair, but bidders don’t go in completely blind. WesBank’s auction lot in Midrand hosts its auction day every Thursday, but also opens on Wednesdays for potential bidders to inspect the cars on offer.
“This is the most important part of the process,” says Mahoney. “Here is where buyers can start doing their homework, by visually inspecting the vehicle, asking to see service books, and even bringing a mechanic along to help inspect the basics.
Staff will assist buyers with any queries, and even supply vehicle keys to allow engines to be started and observed for any obvious mechanical faults. However, test-drives of auction vehicles are not permitted.
Where possible, WesBank’s auction staff will provide detailed point-check reports for vehicles, to assist buyers in establishing the condition of a vehicle. Buyers are also allowed to note the VIN and registration numbers of vehicles and submit these to dealerships to request specifics on the vehicle’s maintenance and warranty history. During this process it is also advised to enquire about the remainder of a service plan or warranty for the vehicle, and whether those will need to be transferred to the new owner.
“Viewing is vital in order to know exactly what you are buying into,” says Mahoney. “WesBank staff will provide as much information as possible about the vehicle’s condition, but a good first-hand inspection will reveal almost everything buyers need to know.”
Get informed about all costs
Should a buyer be interested in bidding there are costs involved, however these are minimal. The first major cost is a security deposit of R5 000. This can be paid on the day, ideally as an EFT with immediate clearance.
“This is just to ensure that bidders are serious and don’t bid on vehicles they do not intend to buy,” says Mahoney. “If they do win an auction the R5 000 fee can be put towards the purchase price, or refunded. Buyers who do not bid at all will also be refunded.”
Registering to bid also requires FICA registration. For private bidders this means supplying proof-of-residence that is not older than three months, as well as their ID book or card. WesBank’s website – www.wesbank.co.za – has full details on exactly which documents are required for registration for private bidders, dealers, and businesses.
Winning bids for vehicles do not include VAT. The standard 14% value added tax needs to be added to the final bid, to arrive at the full price that will be paid.
Buyers should also be mindful of any additional amounts, such as admin charges or commission fees. These fees vary between auction houses, and buyers are urged to establish all associated costs beforehand. In certain cases buyers should be prepared to pay for a roadworthy certification test, as not all vehicles are sold with roadworthy certificates.
“WesBank only charges government-mandated VAT on sale prices, along with an administration fee,” says Mahoney. “Buyers should settle on a budget and calculate how much they are willing to bid, once taxes and additional fees are included.”
Finance available on the floor
Bidding on a potential bargain does not necessarily mean buyers will be able to pay in cash. For this reason, WesBank advises individuals to obtain pre-approved finance for the vehicle they intend to bid on, for the amount that fits their monthly budget. A registered finance and insurance representative from WesBank is on the floor and able to assist, should finance be required on the day. All finance deals are still subject to approval by the bank.
“Just like buying a vehicle through the usual channels, buyers should be aware of what their monthly budget is, after included all auction costs, as well as insurance and running costs,” says Mahoney. “Getting caught up in auction fever and bidding beyond that budget could leave buyers in a tight spot.”
In addition to pre-approved finance, and as part of their research, buyers can also arrange insurance beforehand. Doing so reduces the waiting time for a deal to be finalised, however the entire process should not take longer than five to seven working days.
“This wait might seem like a long time, but patience is required,” says Mahoney. “Waiting for the right deal to come along is more important than rushing the entire process.”
In summary, to get the best out of the auction process WesBank advises buyers to:
- Always visually inspect the vehicle they intend to bid on
- Research the specific vehicle, and its history
- Be informed about fees and charges other than the bid amount
- Take the bidding process seriously, to not forfeit the deposit
- Enter an auction with a set budget and not outbid themselves
- Apply for pre-approved finance and insurance
WesBank’s Midrand auction facility is located on 14th Road, in Noordwyk, Midrand