Eswatini Daily News

Buying or servicing your car in South Africa: things are about to change

There are changes on the horizon for the auto industry – and they will affect every South African looking to buy, repair or maintain a car. The changes – as of July 1, 2021 – are made thanks to guidelines published by the Competition Commission.

According to George Mienie, CEO of AutoTrader, the guidelines are poised to introduce substantial changes to the process of buying and maintaining cars.

“These changes will mean that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), dealerships and workshops will have to change the way they do business in the future,” he said. So what are these changes and how will they impact OEMs, dealerships, workshops, and most importantly the consumer? Here are some of the most important guidelines – and their implications.

Consumers who do not have insurance coverage can repair their motor vehicle at a service provider of their choice at any time during the life of the motor vehicle. They no longer need to go to a so-called “authorized body repairer”.

For various reasons, consumers’ options for auto bodies have been limited. This will not be the case in the future. OEMs should promote and/or support the entry of new body repairers, with a preference for businesses owned by historically disadvantaged people (HDI).

OEMs also cannot enter into exclusive agreements, either with one or more approved auto body shops, to perform repairs on a manufacturer’s motor vehicles in a designated geographic area.

Concretely, this should mean that there are more body repairers – and that the consumer has more options. In theory, cars should also be repaired faster.

Dealers will not be able to include a maintenance or service plan in the purchase price of a vehicle; the plan must be “unbundled”. In practice, this means that the consumer can say yes or no to purchasing a plan from a dealer. He or she is free to buy one elsewhere.

Additionally, if a vehicle with a maintenance or service plan is written off by an insurance company, that plan must be transferred to the replacement vehicle. Story sourced from this link.

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