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How we sell our cars

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A recent survey has revealed that many South Africans wont get a fair deal when selling their car through a dealership, but at the same time many are worried about the security implications when selling privately.

87% of South Africans are worried that they won’t get a fair deal when selling their car through a dealership and 64% claim getting a fair price for their car as their top priority when selling. This is according to a poll commissioned by online secondhand car buyer , CarZar and executed via News24. The survey also found that 58% prefer to receive cash for their car rather than trading-in. However, in contrast, safety concerns mean that 80% of respondents prefer to have their car inspected at a dealership than in a private location.

Other survey findings were:

●      85% of respondents had sold a car during their lifetime

●      50% of South Africans prefer to sell their car privately, although in practice many do not go this route

●      85% of people are concerned about the safety of money transfers when selling a car online

●      61% of respondents have concerns about transfers and paperwork being handled correctly – these are valid concerns because, the new owner has 30 days after the purchase to transfer ownership and if he gets any fines within that period; the seller is still liable

●      The vast majority of people (81%) gather their information online before selling, with online car websites being the most consulted source (61%)

Rob Thompsett, Relationship Manager at CarZar says South Africans seem to be quite knowledgeable about how to get the best price for their car, but there are still a lot of perceived risks to not selling via a dealership. “The fact that you will almost always get a better price by selling privately or via an online car buyer like CarZar seems to be well understood. But security risks – both in terms of fraud and personal safety still weigh on the minds of a lot of South Africans.”

According to Thompsett, consumers still do not fully understand the big difference in price for a trade-in compared to the price you get when selling privately or through an online sales facilitator, “CarZar was launched for those South Africans who prefer to find a convenient and easy way to sell their car and have cash in hands to buy their new vehicle without losing any value when trading-in.”

It is likely that the convenience of a trade-in is also likely to draw some people to go this route. “There is often a perception that the paperwork associated with selling a car is very cumbersome, actually it is a pretty quick process and can be completed in half an hour. The convenience of driving one car into a dealership and leaving with another is appealing to consumer, but they are losing thousands of Rands in the process.”

He said having cash in hand gives the seller far more bargaining power at dealer level. “If you have a cash deposit, you are able to negotiate a far better deal for yourself. With a trade-in, they have to make their mark-up on your vehicle so the deal has less flexibility.”

Thompsett said sites like CarZar are a nice middle-ground between selling privately and selling at a dealer. “A lot of the concerns raised in this survey are addressed by the online car buying model. Pricing is reached transparently, paperwork is handled for you, there are inspection centres for people preferring to go that route, or thoroughly verified assessors visit you. Cash is paid on the day and, if the seller is buying another vehicle, they are placed in an excellent negotiation position.

He concluded that word of mouth is key in South Africa. “More than half of us consult a friend or family member when buying a car. This could be the reason for the rapid uptake in business for sites like ours!”

Cars

Body-tracking tech moves to assembly line

Technology typically used by the world’s top sport stars to raise their game, or ensure their signature skills are accurately replicated in leading video games, is now being used on an auto assembly line.

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Employees at Ford’s Valencia Engine Assembly Plant, in Spain, are using a special suit equipped with advanced body tracking technology. The pilot system, created by Ford and the Instituto Biomecánica de Valencia, has involved 70 employees in 21 work areas. 

Player motion technology usually records how athletes sprint or turn, enabling sport coaches or game developers to unlock the potential of sport stars in the real world or on screen. Ford is using it to design less physically stressful workstations for enhanced manufacturing quality.

“It’s been proven on the sports field that with motion tracking technology, tiny adjustments to the way you move can have a huge benefit,” said Javier Gisbert, production area manager, Ford Valencia Engine Assembly Plant. “For our employees, changes made to work areas using similar technology can ultimately ensure that, even on a long day, they are able to work comfortably.”

Engineers took inspiration from a suit they saw at a trade fair that demonstrated how robots could replicate human movement and then applied it to their workplace, where production of the  new Ford Transit Connect and 2.0-litre EcoBoost Duratec engines began this month.

The skin-tight suit consists of 15 tiny movement tracking light sensors connected to a wireless detection unit. The system tracks how the person moves at work, highlighting head, neck, shoulder and limb movements. Movement is recorded by four specialised motion-tracking cameras – similar to those usually paired with computer game consoles – placed near the worker and captured as a 3D skeletal character animation of the user.

Specially trained ergonomists then use the data to help employees align their posture correctly. Measurements captured by the system, such as an employee’s height or arm length, are used to design workstations, so they better fit employees. 

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Electric cars begin to bridge the luxury gap

A new era has dawned as electric mobility bridges the gap between luxury and necessity, writes TREVOR HILL – head of Audi South Africa.

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Mobility is essential to today’s world. We travel to get to work, to go shopping, and to meet friends and family – in short, effective transport impacts on all aspects of our modern lives. Access to mobility is critical to economic growth and progress, bringing more opportunities and better productivity. At the same time however, growing environmental concerns and a looming shortage of fossil fuels have created tension between our ever-growing demand for mobility and the health of our planet.

Growing populations, increasing urbanization and economic and social development mean that there are more cars on our roads each day. The knock-on effects of this are greater levels of congestion and longer times spent commuting, which means more stress and higher levels of aggression on the road. Skyrocketing levels of air pollution – to which transportation is one of the leading contributors – has negative effects on both health and climate change, both of which are key issues in global policy agendas.

So, the writing has been on the wall for some time. The gold standard in automotive technological progress has thus been to achieve a radical reduction of engine emissions and the development of electric cars has been at the forefront of this charge. We have now entered the beginning of a new era, as more and more of these vehicles take to the roads. Electric cars are now at the cusp of the mass market, with a steady stream of new models set to reach the consumer in future. Last week, we launched the Audi e-tron, our first all-electric-drive SUV, at a world premiere in San Francisco – one huge leap forward in pursuit of our goal. Audi will also bring more than 20 electrified models to the market by 2025, from the compact class to the full-size category. Around a dozen models will be all-electric, while the remainder will be plug-in hybrids for emission-free driving on shorter journeys.

Powering this development is ongoing improvement in battery technology, with increasing energy density and lengthened driving ranges possible between charges. Consumers have noted that they feel confident using electric cars for day-to-day use once battery technology can sustain a driving range of 300 or more kilometres, which is now possible. The Audi e-tron has a range of 400 kilometers, making it ideal for long distance driving. Drivers who charge the e-tron overnight can set off in the morning in full confidence that they won’t need to stop at a charging station as they go about their day.

What this technological progress also means however, is that the levels of power and performance achieved by an electric car draw ever closer to those of traditional engines. For anyone who loves high strung, powerful engines and the rush of adrenaline that comes from flooring the throttle on an empty stretch of road, this is no small thing.  At Audi, we are lucky to be surrounded by some of the most exceptional engines ever produced, so few people understand the thrill of an extraordinary driving experience better than we do. So, the holy grail is to achieve this same performance with vastly improved economy.

The Audi e-tron’s electric drive has two asynchronous motors, one at the front, one at the rear, with a total output of 300 kW of power. This allows the Audi e-tron to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in just 5.7 seconds.

The next step will be the development of electric cars suitable for those who regularly drive long distances, entailing further advances in battery technology, and the development of a network of charging stations across the country. The battery for the Audi e-tron is designed to last the entire life cycle of the vehicle. When charged at a high-power charging station at up to 150 kW, the Audi e-tron can be restored to 80% in less than half an hour. At 22 kW, the Audi e-tron can charge its battery to 100% in around four and a half hours.

For city dwellers, however, the age of electric mobility has well and truly arrived. Rapid advances in technology continue to drive progress; the rise of electric cars is only one of many developments set to transform transportation as we know it, heralding a cleaner, more efficient future.

 

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