Selling a used car online in South Africa

Buying a car in South Africa is not easy, the choice is limited and cars cost much more than the equivalent model Europe or America. So when it came to selling cars I wasn’t sure what the story was going to be.

Years ago, before the internet started being a thing, you had to place in publications like The Cape Ads and Autotrader and place an A4 “For Sale” sign in your car window.

Now the internet is a thing we have websites like Gumtree, OLX, and AutoTrader.co.za to assist in selling a used car. Finally – an easy way to get eyeballs who want a car, looking at your car.

I’ve broken down the pros and cons of of each of the platforms I used in alphabetical order.

AutoTrader:

The first thing you’ll notice about AutoTrader is you will have to pay!

Cost: R225 for website only listing until the vehicle is sold.
Enquiries: 2 phone calls, no emails and no dashboard to see any stats.
Overall view: All the calls I got from AutoTrader were from outside of the Western Cape so the buyers could not view the vehicle. Despite the AutoTrader website doing a good job of asking where the car is when you list it, it doesn’t do a good job making this clear to the potential buyer.

The other issue was the text was not formatted, it ended up being one big clump of text with no bullet points or paragraphs which was really crap.

Then lastly AutoTrader doesn’t provide any stats on visits to your ad or enquiries on your ad.

Gumtree:

Cost: FREE but I paid an extra R20 to have a highlighted ad.
Enquiries: 411 Ad visits, 12 email enquires and plenty of calls.
Overall view: Gumtree gave me the highest number of interested buyers by far. Originally I had the car on for a high asking price, then when I dropped the price by R6000 the enquiries came in thick and fast.

My main criticism is that if you pay to highlight your ad, if you edit the ad your ad will no longer be highlighted. Also I posted the ad on a Friday afternoon and the ad took forever to get approved.

OLX:

Cost: FREE.
Enquiries: 34 Ad visits, 1 email enquires and 1  call (ironically this call got the car sold).
Overall view: I wasn’t really expecting much from OLX but a call came in a day or two after posting, I arranged a test drive and they made an offer which I accepted.

Final thoughts:

My final thoughts are you definitely do not need to pay to sell a car online in South Africa. I think AutoTrader is a waste of money for purely online selling. It might be different if you go into the print publication or if you are a trader, but for individuals it did not supply any results which justified the spend. I was surprised with the sale coming from OLX, but I think this was purely because I reduced the price on OLX before I reduced it on Gumtree. I could have sold the car 6 times over from the enquires I got from Gumtree.

Nicholas Soper

About Nicholas

I am passionate about working in tech, travel, solving problems and helping people. I also love being active, surfing and being outside. From England and currently living in Cape Town, South Africa. Say hi! Learn more about Nick.