Determinants of your  used car’s resale value

Thursday September 10 2020
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A buyer will not only look at the exterior of a car but its general condition before paying. Photo | Kelvin Atuhaire

By Mustafa Ziraba


Many car buyers today among other things place weighty consideration on a car’s resale value. There are many factors that can impact a car’s resale value and these range from the inevitable effect of series of number plate to something as simple as the car colour. 

Brand perception
Used car buyers want a winner and are more likely to offer you a better price for a more prestigious brand or one that has a reputation for quality and reliability than a little-known or less popular brand. For instance, there are brands in Uganda that might not get you much when you try to sell simply because of the market perception. 

Popularity
In Uganda, no other SUV beats the Toyota Harrier aka Kawundo in popularity. All car buyers and sellers know this. If the used car supply of this car is tight, you will likely get a better price from a potential buyer. On the other hand, if the car you are selling was never a big seller, the price you will fetch will probably be less than you would like. Some cars have gained cult status that whatever model year shall have a premium ask. 

Mileage
If your car is 10 -15 years old and has less than 70,000 kilometres on it, the price a buyer will be willing to pay is likely to be higher than if it has 130,000 or more kilometres on the odometer, all things considered. In fact, mileage is such an important factor on the used car market that unscrupulous sellers have gone all out and done mileage rollbacks to improve the resale value of the car. 

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The number plate series 
This is a vague but trusted Ugandan resale value determinant. The plate series on your car shall determine the resale value with the underlying fact that an old series number plate say UAJ has spent more years in Uganda than a UBG. 

Rightly so, a car spending more years in Uganda for all intents and purposes means more suspension agitation, exposure to bad fuel, exposure to counterfeit and poor quality replacement parts, driver abuse etc. While there are exceptions to this rule where older series cars are well cared for, the general car owner behaviour says otherwise and the garage statistics support this. The older your plate series gets, the lower your resale value.

Interior
Leather and dark interiors always add value to a used car. In general, when it comes to car interiors, leather is considered more luxurious and stylish than cloth. In some ways, leather car seats become a status symbol. On the other hand, some cloth car seats look drab and plain, lacking the aesthetic appeal of sleek leather. When it comes to maintenance, cleaning leather seats is quite easy. They are also thick enough to keep the spillage from staining.

Supply and demand
These simple principles still apply. No matter how well you have maintained your car, if there is an excess of them for sale, you are not likely to get a lot of cash for it. Granted, you will get more for it than a comparable car not kept up as well, but supply and demand always plays into how much your car is actually worth at the time you want to sell it.

Colour
Buyers of used cars generally want cars in colours that reflect their popularity in the market. These include white, black and silver. If your car is an unusual or garish colour, buyers are less likely to be interested, or will offer a price that is lower than you want. 

Depreciation
While subjective in the used car market, depreciation is hardest on brand new cars. Luxury brands are known for depreciating at a higher rate because they are often leased by the first owners largely in developed markets. 
While some luxury models tend to quickly lose a lot of their value, they still do not drop in price enough to attract used car buyers who may be reluctant to pay the premium for high-end trims and technological features.

Appearance
When walking around town or in a shopping mall, people are often drawn towards nice, clean visual displays of products or stores. The same can be said for cars. Your car is more appealing to buyers if its overall exterior and interior appearance are well maintained.
On the other hand, “if the car appears to be dinged up, rusty, scratched, worn out and rough, it will suffer from a poor resale value. Chips or cracks in the window, non-functioning features, and a bad smell can also have a negative impact on your selling price.

Options 
While not a huge deal breaker, some discerning buyers look for specific car options and whether or not they are in working order. Things like a sunroof, turbo (or no turbo as they do not want the extra work of turbo engine maintenance), audio system, heated seats, rims and type of tyres, low or high profile. Selling a used car means offering potential buyers what they want to own. 

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