2012 Kinsey Report

This is the most comprehensive Kinsey Report yet, - 64 vehicle in 8 categories. The categories are slightly different this year – and hopefully will prove to be satisfactory both to the public and manufacturers alike. 

The Motor Manufacturing industry uses an extensive set of vehicle classifications, some including subdivisions to fine-tune the class specifications. Obviously, they are working with a huge range of vehicles and we have to try to categorize our choices in a much more general way. 

Our vehicles are grouped in such a way that if one is interested in buying a vehicle of a particular size or price range, there will be comparative figures for similar sized/priced vehicles. If one's budget or size requirements are in the lower sector, then the figures for a large MPV for example, will not be of particular concern. 

The 8 classes of 2012 are as follows:

The old Entry Level has been split into City Cars – small cars mainly for commuting which can be quite expensive, and Entry Level – which is the continued production of existing models some with new names – Fiesta to Figo, Polo to Polo Vivo. Some are fairly big and all take 4 passengers comfortably.

Super Minis are small cars but some of the models available cost over R200,000 and have lots of new technology.
Family Favourites cover hatch and 4 door family cars with the old stalwarts like Corolla, Golf etc. and many similar newcomers.

Auto Executives takes the place of the old Family Saloon – all bristling with technology and all automatics.
The crossover has been split into 2 subcategories – Compact Crossover for the smaller ( and less expensive) models while the larger SUVs remain as Crossover.

Double Cabs remain the same. 

As always, the report uses pricing from the retail selling dealer networks rather than from the manufacturers, - which is what the customer experiences whenever he goes to buy a part for his vehicle. Only franchise dealers were surveyed and no alternative parts were considered.

One accepts that there ARE some good, and often quite inexpensive parts available, but we are not in a position to evaluate the quality and durability of alternative supplies. Also, the conditions of the warranty involved are not known. Fitting a non-branded item could invalidate the warranty on a seemingly unconnected part should that fail.

There are manufacturers which are offering alternative or budget priced parts which have undergone testing and are accepted by the manufacturer, - e.g Volkswagen, which sell a range of economy parts from batteries to exhausts, which will not invalidate a new vehicle warranty.

The source country of the vehicle can have a large impact on pricing. Products from countries like India, Thailand and China, where labour is very poorly paid, are able to export vehicles and parts at a lower cost than Europe, Japan or even Korea. 

We are obviously not able to cover every make and model available in SA, but we have tried to include most of the volume sellers and in most cases, if one model of a specific brand is reasonably priced, most of the others from that manufacturer will be equally reasonably priced. This occasionally varies when a vehicle is manufactured in a different country from the rest.

There is still need to shop around since there is legislation which prohibits price setting, - so any dealer may discount or add on as they wish.

This year we added batteries to our list of parts, but in the end decided to omit them because fewer than half the dealerships carried batteries, and often the dealer prices were very high – well in the thousands. Some dealers simply referred us to one of the battery fitment specialists, where most prices were under R1,000 for a replacement battery. Note: Never buy a smaller battery than the standard one fitted to your vehicle, because when it’s very cold a smaller battery may battle to crank the engine over and with vehicles with idle/stop/start, the battery may run flat in heavy traffic congestion.

When reading the charts, it sometimes appears that we are not “comparing apples with apples”, so large is the discrepancy in particular parts prices between vehicles. In most cases we have put in an explanation for this – e.g. the rear shock for the Peugeot 3008 is over R10,000, but this is in actual fact the cost of both rear shocks, sold only as a kit with all the pipes and pump for ride height control.

Spark plugs are another item which may vary a great deal in price, this mainly related to the lifespan of the plug, - 20 – 30,000km to 100,000km. Brake discs on some vehicles may include the hub and wheel bearings, and in a few cases are sold as a pair only (mainly European manufacturers). Other vehicles have very high spec (and thus more expensive) flywheels and headlights may also have many variations.

Each vehicle in the survey has 3 sections – service parts, most of which would be covered in the case of new vehicles by a service contract; then repair parts, like clutch, shocks and this year, flywheel. There is an increasing number of dual mass flywheels – I tend to think that these are an unnecessary expense because they can be troublesome and costly to replace; and finally, crash parts.

Crash parts are something you may never need, or conversely, may need within the first few weeks of owning your vehicle. Even with adequate insurance, the cost of crash parts will influence your pocket. Expensive crash parts will mean an earlier write-off point for your vehicle and have an effect on your excess payment. Your premiums may also be linked to the repair costs of the vehicle.

Probably the most important thing to keep in mind when reading this study is that no matter what you drive, it is expensive. Look after your vehicle and shop around for the most competitive prices and ask what the costs are before having work done.


Vehicles by Category:

City Cars:

The Nissan Micra has the lowest basket in this category at R32,094, winning for the second year in a row. The least expensive service parts belong to the Tata Indica, and the lowest repair parts basket belong to the Chev Spark. Micra crash parts are over R2,500 less expensive than the car in second place overall, the Suzuki Alto. Third is the Hyundai i10.

Entry Level:

The clear winner here is the Ford Figo with a total parts basket of R34,383 from the Polo Vivo and Renault Sandero. The Sandero scores well with service parts, the Figo takes top place in both the repair and crash sections. The Toyota Etios is second for repair parts.

Super Mini:

As usual, this is a large and popular classification and here Ford does the honours again with the Ford Fiesta with a total parts basket of R46,086. This class is hotly contested with less than R4,500 separating the first 5 makes. Least expensive service parts are claimed by the VW Polo at R2,185; repair parts sees Chevrolet Sonic taking a bow with the Polo close behind and crash parts winner is the Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Citroen DS3 in tow. Second and third lowest parts baskets are claimed by the Hyundai i20 and Citroen DS3 – this latter being an improvement for the marque.   

Family Favourite:

Old faithful Nissan Tiida does it again with a parts basket of R44,823. The car with the least expensive service parts is the Hyundai Elantra, then Peugeot 308. Repair parts winner is the Chevrolet Cruze with Tiida second and crash parts basket is taken by Nissan Tiida. Second overall is Toyota Corolla followed by the Hyundai Elantra.

Auto Executives:

Hyundai Sonata takes the crown here at R83,302 followed by Mazda 6 and Audi A4. The service winner is Sonata, with Volvo S60 behind and Kia Optima in third. Repair parts show the Optima out front with Mazda 6 less than R100 behind! In the crash parts section, it is Sonata from Mazda 6 and Audi A4.

Compact Crossover:

Toyota Avanza heads this competition with a basket of R53,488 from Nissan Grand Livina and Suzuki SX4. Service parts are best from Avanza and Livina with the Mitsubishi ASX in third spot. Suzuki SX4 is the most economical in repair parts and crash parts follow the overall placings of Avanza, Livina and SX4.

Crossover:

Another Toyota win, this time the Fortuner, heads the prestigious crossover class, with a parts basket of R81,958 followed by a much-improved Peugeot 3008 a mere R9 in arrears! In third is the VW Tiguan. Service parts basket is least for the Hyundai iX35 with the 3008 in second. Repair cost winner is the Fortuner, then the Forester and crash parts lowest total goes to the Hyundai iX35.

Double Cabs:

Winners here is the Tata Xenon with a parts basket total of R42,123, followed closely by the GWM Steed 5 and the Ford Ranger third. Here is a case of the country of origin having an impact on the cost of both vehicle and parts. Servicing prices are a neck-and-neck tussle between the top 2, - only R9 apart and third going to the Mazda BT50. Repair shows the same pattern as Tata, GWM and Ford and crash parts Tata, GWM and Mazda.

For more detail, download the full document below: