Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
3 Mar 2022
12:16 pm

The pros and cons of selling your car online

Citizen Reporter

The factors you need to consider when looking at you options are personal safety and price.

There are various ways of selling your car online.

In 2021, global retail e-commerce sales amounted to approximately $4.9 trillion (versus $3.35 trillion in 2019).

This figure is forecast to grow by 50% over the next four years, reaching $5 trillion this year and about $7.4 trillion by 2025.

The automotive industry hasn’t been left behind as a new car is bought online every nine minutes. With more consumers turning to online to buy their next car, the good news is that there are lots of ways of doing this.

We’ve selected the four most prominent methods of selling a car online, explaining the pros and cons of each.

Using messaging groups

Selling privately via a WhatsApp group has its benefits. Apart from it being free, it’s potentially safer than some other methods, because you often know the people on the WhatsApp group.

The cons? A limited audience, resulting in the possibility of a lower asking price. Also, you will need to complete all the paperwork, which can be tiresome.

There might be safety-related issues too. If you’re showing the car to a buyer, always do so in a public location. Never go alone: take a friend along just in case. And never ever give the car to a buyer until you’re 100% convinced that the money is in your bank account.

Using online classifieds

There are two big benefits to this method. It’s often free and you can reach a substantial audience.

Of course, there are cons too. Just one is the fact that you’re “talking” to thousands or even millions of people who have zero interest in buying a car. This doesn’t make it a very targeted approach.

Also, you need to do the paperwork and there are the same safety-related concerns that you face when selling via WhatsApp.

ALSO READ: How not to get scammed when buying a second-hand car

Selling via online marketplaces

One of the most important pros of using specilised websites is that you’re advertising to people who are specifically looking for a car. But some sites might charge you to list your car.

A big plus is the fact that, if you’re worried about the paperwork and security-related issues highlighted above, you can delegate responsibility. Sites such as AutoTrader, for instance, offer a service whereby they create and manage your listing, assist with pricing and help prepare your car for sale.

They also have a service offering called Instant Offer, whereby motorists wishing to sell their cars can get a market-driven valuation within minutes and a solid cash offer within hours.

“Only AutoTrader can calculate accurate car valuations based on live-market data. This is a free service to consumers, which is built right into Instant Offer.

“Instant Offer is extremely easy to use, it is super fast and it is risk-free (the safety-related concerns that apply to WhatsApp groups and online classifieds don’t apply; Instant Offer is secure),” says George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO.

Taking the auction route

Finally, there is the auction option… and yes, you guessed it, there are pros and cons to this method too.

One of the biggest advantages is safety and security. When you’re dealing with an auction house, your personal safety is rarely at risk and you typically always get paid.

A big disadvantage is price. Auctions are mostly attended by dealers, who want to buy “stock”. They will then add a markup to the price that they’ve paid and resell the car. Practically, this means that they want to pay the lowest possible price – which isn’t necessarily in your best interests.

For more insides into the South African consumer car shopping market, click here.