There is no need to compromise on performance when buying a second-hand vehicle thanks to the comprehensive refurbishment programmes offered by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). MARISKA MORRIS reports
Purchasing a pre-owned vehicle can be a good choice for a transport operator on a tight budget. However, traditionally, this came with some trade-offs. Generally, a used vehicle comes without a warranty, service plan or, in some cases, a service history. There is also no way for the buyer to know for sure whether the vehicle was used for its intended application.
Several OEMs are, however, changing the pre-owned market with extensive refurbishment programmes aimed at ensuring a quality product from a trusted source.
Through MAN TopUsed, transport operators can purchase used vehicles that have undergone extensive checks and some refurbishments. Dave van Graan, head of special sales projects at MAN Automotive South Africa, says: “MAN TopUsed trades in vehicles of varied utilisations and applications.
“We could sell one-year-old demonstration units with under 100 000 km, or ten-year-old vehicles that are about to enter their fourth economic life cycle.” The range offered by MAN TopUsed includes trucks, vans, buses and trailers that can all be viewed on the TopUsed website.
“We evaluate every vehicle on merit and do what is needed to ensure a trouble-free next-application life. Our thorough life checks and vehicle return conditions ensure that we know every MAN vehicle very well,” Van Graan explains.
In addition to strict vehicle return conditions, MAN also conducts thorough checks when accepting a vehicle and again before the vehicle is sold. This helps to determine which technical refurbishments are required.
“In the case of a long-haul vehicle that comes back after its first economic life of three years, or 540 000 km, and has been on the MAN Service Care and various maintenance or repair programmes, for example, we find that there is very little to do. They can seamlessly start their next economic cycle,” Van Graan notes.
“If the end of the natural normal expected life of the major vehicle components is imminent, MAN TopUsed would authorise refurbishments of those components – engine, transmission, propshafts and rear-drive axles – to the extent where we can guarantee their next economic life and support repairs with a factory-backed warranty together with a range of repair and maintenance contracts,” he adds.
Thus, the used vehicle will come with many of the benefits of a new vehicle at a very affordable price. “Our customers get a vehicle that has been technically tracked by the OEM since birth. We know exactly where it operated and what work has been done on it,” Van Graan explains.
“Once prepared for resale, the MAN TopUsed vehicle is supplied with all of the company values and support that is expected from a global manufacturer. For us at TopUsed, the main benefit involves trust and support with integrity – a value-add on which one can’t really put a price,” he concludes.
TruckStore, a division of Daimler Trucks and Buses Southern Africa, offers a range of refurbished, used vehicles to choose from that are divided into three categories, which indicate the level of testing and refurbishments.
Annelie van Rooyen, manager of sales and operations at TruckStore, explains: “Trucks in the bronze category, for example, receive only a technical inspection and basic cleaning. In the silver category, the vehicles undergo refurbishment and are less than six years old.
“In the gold category, all the vehicles receive a technical inspection with repairs, services and refurbishments carried out. These vehicles are less than four years old and come with a manufacturer’s warranty.”
While TruckStore performs extensive quality inspections to ensure the vehicle is in good mechanical condition, it also stocks vehicles of all ages, mileages and conditions to meet different clients’ needs and budgets.
“The most important thing is transparency. Customers should be given a variety of options, but always make an informed buying decision. We consider ourselves as a trusted used-truck partner,” Van Rooyen says.
“Customers can rest assured knowing that when they purchase a truck from TruckStore, they will have full transparency on its condition. They know exactly what they are buying. It is also essential that we provide value to our clients. It is therefore important that our customers get the right advice and buy the right vehicles for their application,” she adds.
In addition to ensuring the vehicle is mechanically sound, TruckStore also promises a vehicle that is presentable. Van Rooyen elaborates: “The initial inspection is critical to establishing the refurbishments required. Each vehicle is unique and, therefore, the process of getting it to a sellable condition will differ.
“Even though the main focus is ensuring that the vehicle is mechanically sound, it is also important to make sure that, even though it’s a used vehicle, it is clean, presentable and meets the customer’s expectations.”
Even on a smaller budget, transport operators can still purchase a trustworthy and reliable vehicle with the added benefit of a maintenance plan or warranty through OEM refurbishment plans. Pre-owned doesn’t have to equal compromise.