Downsizing and downscaling may well be conversations associated with a stage of life, but the terminology is also frequently used in the automotive industry. The biggest ‘drive’ (excuse the pun) for selling a bigger car to buy a smaller second-hand one is economical or financial constraints. ‘Tightening your belt’ has nothing to do with safety belts, but rather with simple and pragmatic ways to release a little equity by choosing a more affordable option to get you from A to B.
And with 21st-century advancements in chassis design and technological developments, small cars tick the safety, affordability, driving and parking boxes. (Plus they are really zippy, nippy and stylish). So selling your Bakkie or large SUV to buy a smaller second-hand car that is smaller should not be seen as a compromise.
Finances and lifestyle are the two protagonists that make downscaling to a smaller used vehicle the smart choice.
The economic motivation
Interest rate hikes: Although not the biggest evil player in our economy, interest rates definitely do impact people’s longer-term budgeting priorities. Rising interest rates will affect car ownership, so downsizing to buy a (smaller) second-hand car will make a big difference in your monthly car repayments.
Fuel hikes: Easily considered the villain in our South African context, this is a BIG reason to downscale your vehicle. The logic behind buying a smaller car is the fact that smaller engines (between 1 litre and 1.9 litres) tend to use less fuel to create power, hence they are more economical and fuel-efficient. (We’d love to suggest a hybrid or electric car as mitigation – but that is not yet a viable financial alternative in our neck of the woods).
Carbon footprint hikes: Clearly a complex and highly nuanced discussion, the simple truth is that the heavier a car is, the more energy it needs to drive and this means burning more carbon emissions. So a side benefit of buying a used vehicle that is smaller becomes a more environmentally-friendly solution.
The figures don’t lie. A smaller ride generally costs less upfront and will just keep on saving you money. Insurance premiums are usually lower on smaller vehicles and they need smaller tyres which also cost less.
The lifestyle motivation
The rise of a hybrid work model has clearly shifted our daily lifestyle habits and impacted the trend of downsizing to a smaller second-hand vehicle. The flexibility of WFH (work-from-home) arrangements has made South Africans rethink their need for larger vehicles as it is hard to justify the associated running and maintenance costs. The value-for-money and practical considerations of rather buying a small economical car clearly make sense.
Urban apartment living is on the rise (once again, excuse the pun). The manoeuvrability of small cars in busy city traffic and the increased chances of finding inner city parking make a move to a smaller vehicle a no-brainer. And then there is the life of a university student (who has a driver’s licence); just another scenario where the rationale for investing in a smaller car is clear.
You may still be struggling with the concept of downscaling and are ready with the counter-argument that you need a car with space. That is a fair objection. But when times are hard, you need to decide just how much space you really need.
Buying a smaller (used) car doesn’t mean giving up your outdoor pursuits.
- For cyclists, a boot bike rack or roof rack comes into its own on a smaller vehicle.
- A surfboard can even fit into a tiny hatchback. (Here’s the proof!).
- And if you are needing a little extra ‘legroom,’ you will be pleasantly surprised at the versatility and space offering of sedans and compact SUVs.
The Weelee motivation
This means you not only get the best price for your car when you sell it, but you can purchase a second-hand vehicle – big or small – at wholesale prices to the public.
Weelee becomes just another savvy financial reason to buy a pre-owned car that fits your lifestyle needs.
(You will also have access to independent condition reports and onsite finance options).