Sunday, 03 July 2022 14:23

AA launched an innovative service to offer used car buyers peace of mind.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Automobile Association (AA) has launched a service to give South Africans credible information on pre-owned vehicles before purchase.

This will be done through independent vehicle dealerships and AA Approved workshops across the country, the association said.

Through the service, the AA said that dealerships can offer an AA 125-point inspection of vehicles, providing a comprehensive report on the vehicle to prospective buyers. Consumers across South Africa will be able to access this service at all dealerships that display the AA Certified Pre-Owned branding.

"In developing this product and service, the AA along with our brand partner AA Warranties, recognised that we can offer support to independent dealerships while providing the motoring public a valuable and credible service that enhances the selling and purchasing experience," said Willem Groenewald, chief executive officer at the AA.

The inspection process does not offer a "pass" or "fail" assessment of a vehicle. Instead, it provides a report stating the "facts" of the vehicle at the time of assessment.

"This is an important distinction because the report is not intended to favour anyone; it's simply giving a true, unbiased reflection of the vehicle at the time of inspection. This is a powerful tool for both sellers and buyers as it removes any doubts about the vehicle’s condition," said Groenewald.

The AA said it is engaging with independent dealerships across the country regarding the AA-certified accreditation, with the aim of having a minimum of 150 dealerships offering the service in the next two years.

Earlier this year the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) also announced its Vehicle Salvage Database (VSD) to the public in a move that it believes will help prevent previously written-off and poorly repaired vehicles from re-entering the used market.

The VSD system contains information on salvage vehicles. These are vehicles that have been deregistered by the respective insurers and thus declared salvage after policyholders have been indemnified of their motor claims, the association said.

Guidelines on competition in the South African automotive aftermarket were introduced a year ago (June 2021), marking significant steps in a consumer’s right to repair their vehicle.

The National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) said at the time that the guidelines would allow consumers to have the right to repair or service their vehicles at an independent provider of their choice.

The guidelines would introduce the following key changes:

Dealerships and manufacturers will not be able to obstruct a vehicle owner from seeking service, maintenance or mechanical repair work for a new vehicle at an independent service provider of ones own choice.

Maintenance and service plans will be unbundled at the point of sale from the purchase price, encouraging more choice.

Consumers will be able to add original or non-original spare parts by an approved dealer, motor-body repairer, or an ISP during the warranty period.

Mark Dommisse, the chairperson of NADA pointed out that these guidelines are not law but rather a series of non-binding applications for use by the Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA).