Second-hand savings to be had

Life with a Suzuki Baleno | Pre-owned and demo pricing

Brenwin Naidu Motoring editor, reporter and presenter
The Baleno in base GL trim carries a new price of R247,900.
The Baleno in base GL trim carries a new price of R247,900.
Image: Supplied

We are halfway into our three-month extended test with the Suzuki Baleno.

In our missives so far, we have reported quite positively on its strengths of fuel economy (currently on 5.9l/100km); as well as its bounty of standard features that some cars costing twice as much do not have as standard.

When the odometer of our metallic silver GLX tester clicked over the 3,600km mark this week, it got us thinking about the benefits of buying pre-owned. More specifically, demonstrator models with low mileage and the pungent new car aroma still firmly lingering – but with the financial saving brought by inevitable depreciation.

The current range was launched to market in June 2022. At the time, the basic GL went for R225,900 and the GLX cost R275,900. You would have spent a further R20,000 for an automatic transmission in the case of either model.

Today, a new Baleno starts off at R247,900 (GL) while the GLX will set you back R299,900. Inflationary-related pricing increases are unstoppable during the life-cycle of any vehicle, but it seems as though Suzuki managed to stave off too large a jump. As before, the automatics carry a R20,000 premium.

Overall the pricing of the Baleno is not what you would call exorbitant. Even if you go for the range-topping GLX with two pedals, considering the standard features and package on the whole, it represents great value among B-segment hatchbacks. But what if you wanted even further savings?

GLX manual we are testing goes for R299,900.
GLX manual we are testing goes for R299,900.
Image: Supplied

We logged onto a popular used car classifieds website to see what could be found, opting for examples not older than 2023 and in Gauteng, from Suzuki dealerships. Of the 129 listings in total, there were a number of new models – with mere delivery mileage – listed for a bit less than recommended retail price. We found a 2024 GL manual going for R232,900 and decided to give the dealership a call. The saleswoman said it was indeed a new vehicle, but the price was subject to in-house finance, not a cash purchase. And that was also before “on-the-road” fees – around R12,500 according to the agent! All tallied up, you would be close to new retail anyway.

Moving on, there was a 2023 GL manual with 10,800km was listed at R234,800. Still a reasonable saving. On the GLX front, there was a 2024 GLX manual at the same franchise with just 20km on the clock going for R278,300. R6,500 for on the road fees; the salesman told me. On hearing about the R12,500 we were told by the other retailer, he commented that dealerships tend to operate differently.

Then we came across a 2024 GLX automatic, with 35km, priced at R297,754. The salesman confirmed it was a new vehicle and gave another nugget of insight: Suzuki SA is incentivising its dealers to push excess stock, because as of May 1, a price increase is expected.

However, Brendon Carpenter, marketing manager for the brand, said that the manufacturer does not incentivise retailers to discount vehicles.

Demo models allow you to enjoy that new car smell at a discounted price.
Demo models allow you to enjoy that new car smell at a discounted price.
Image: Supplied

"Typically, dealerships use their own discretion and retail experience to determine suitable pricing based on market conditions,” he said.

Lastly, we thought it would be interesting to get some trade and retail and figures for our test unit, a 2023 registration. The dealership proffered a subject-to-view trade value amount of R240,000 and said retail would be around the R270,000 mark.

Moral of this story? As always, it pays to do your groundwork before making a final purchasing decision.

Still, as far as car-buying decisions go, thus far we are finding it pretty easy to vouch for the sensible Baleno.

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