Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles: An added value for second-hand car buyers
By Thierry Sabbagh, Managing Director – Nissan Middle East
To some, a car is merely a mode of transport from one point to another. To others, a car is their pride and joy, filling their lives with a sense of freedom and recognition. What remains true in both cases, however, is that an automobile is said to be the second largest investment individuals make during the course of their lives – a plausible justification for many who contemplate secondhand vehicle purchases to reduce financial pressures.
An up-and-coming trend that has been gaining traction globally and within the region, is that of Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles. Tackling the issues and risks associated with purchasing traditional used cars, CPO vehicles are those which have been inspected by factory-trained mechanics, reconditioned to meet the highest of standards, and come bundled with an extended warranty.
As per a report released by Frost & Sullivan, the economic volatility brought about by COVID-19 saw new vehicle sales decline by nearly 50-60% in the GCC in 2020, while the demand for pre-owned vehicles remained far more resilient during the same period. With a more positive outlook in 2021 and economies recovering across the region, the used car market is expected to record a growth, but the surge in pre-owned vehicle purchases cannot be attributed to a single, independent factor.
While CPO vehicles in themselves aren’t a new concept, buyers have long been attracted towards them for the value that they offer. Retailing for approximately 30% lesser than their brand-new counterparts, certified pre-owned vehicles allow many buyers to consider larger, more tech-filled vehicles than would have otherwise been possible in their budget. Certified pre-owned vehicles have also been popular amongst price-sensitive buyers who value affordability above all else and don’t see the tangible benefit in being the first owner of a vehicle and consequently paying a premium for it. When compared to traditional used cars, CPO vehicles also hold the benefit of having a clean report and history, in addition to offering specifications for market requirements (GCC specs) and having a dealer-backed service contract for added peace of mind.
Having said that and while those motivations remain true, there are several more factors at play when understanding the rise in pre-owned vehicle purchases. The global economic uncertainty and the instability in the job market that it has resulted in, is one such macroeconomic reason. A report by Close Brothers Motor Finance in the UK, revealed that over a third (38%) of drivers had delayed vehicle purchases because of the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. The report also revealed that 14% of drivers were more likely to purchase a pre-owned vehicle, while 12% were more inclined to purchase a more affordable car.
Logistical issues have also risen due to the global spread of COVID-19, and the automotive industry remains one of the most severely affected by significant disruptions to global supply chains. The shortage of semiconductors has also pressed numerous automotive manufacturers to reduce or completely halt production at some of their plants. The trickle-down effects have led to a drop in new cars reaching dealerships and a rise in demand for pre-owned vehicles that are readily available.
Given the changing landscape, automotive manufacturers across the globe are paying closer attention to their certified pre-owned fleets, ensuring they are well presented and priced. Bringing buyers safety, value for money, and peace of mind, Nissan Intelligent Choice is one such global programs that caters to the changing needs of customers in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, and Lebanon. Being the first CPO program with manufacturer-backed warranty in the region, all Nissan Intelligent Choice vehicles undergo a stringent 167-point inspection and reconditioning process and come bundled with a manufacturer warranty of up to two-years or 60,000km. The warranty that accompanies all certified pre-owned Nissan vehicles is transferable to other owners and provides regional coverage.
While certified pre-owned vehicles make for a promising proposition and are an ongoing trend given the situation in global markets; to some, brand-new vehicles will continue to be the best choice as they cater to the emotional and rational needs of buyers. The joy, peace of mind, and sense of achievement with being the first owner of a vehicle, is further cemented with longer warranties and unmatched satisfaction. Therefore, buyers who are in search of a used vehicle, should consider focusing their attention on CPO options instead, to ensure a more pleasant, transparent, and enjoyable vehicle ownership experience.