Second hand car market



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ORIGINAL POST
Posted by unigenitus 48 days ago
This is a topic that has been covered, but not for some time. I wonder if people agree with my assessment of how the used car market in Hong Kong actually works.

Platforms

These are essentially the ways of searching for cars from more than one owner, most typically in the form of classifieds. The classified sections of AsiaXpat and GeoExpat are two obvious examples.
 
Additionally there are some other platforms such as Used Car Mart  or HK Car Trader. Whilst these have quite a diversity of stock, it is very much a case of caveat emptor. I have seen many opinions saying that they prefer this route due to being able to get certainty on servicing history etc due to personal ownership.
 
Personally I feel that unless you have some mechanical knowledge, this whole method seems risky but of course it can be mitigated by requiring (and paying for) an inspection.

Two platforms which seem to be slightly different, and which may be worth mentioning, are Beyond Cars and The Auto Mall.
 
Beyond Cars attempts to bring quality certification to used car buying, so that you know for sure a given car has passed inspection even if it is a private seller. This is combined with an anywhere test drive and delivery proposition to allow greater transparency. On the other hand The Auto Mall appears to be a dealer aggregator, which rather than listing private sellers, lists inventory from a range of dealers who then transact with you directly.
 
Dealers carry their own problems (see below) but the competition element which the Mall brings should help the buyer.

Dealers

There are numerous dealers who carry their own inventory. On the Island, and particularly relevant to expats, are Vin's (www.vinsmotors.com.hk) and Vincent's.
 
These two guys have pretty much cornered the casual amateur expat market, at least for the Island side, and looking back seem to have a bit of baggage to their names. A trawl through old posts seems to involve accusations of reversing mileage clocking and poor service - but I would say, almost all of these posts seem to come from ten years ago or more.

However these two (in)famous players are far from the only ones in the market.
 
A few others which spring up include - with no particular comment on quality or range of options - companies like Golden Century (recommended on another forum but no functioning website), StarLite Motors (www.starlitemotors.com), Sing Wai, Gainful Motors (www.gfcar.hk) and GP Motors (www.gpmotors.com.hk). If one looks on The Auto Mall, one will find plenty more dealers too. I would be keen to hear of people's experiences with some of these others, as I do not have much to go on other than their websites being rather Chinese.
 

Lastly, there are the official brand dealers for various makes, including Zung Fu for Mercedes, Dah Chong Hong for Audi and Sime Darby for BMW. One assumes that these are the best for quality guarantees but there are plenty of complaints about how over-priced they are, and not only for buying but for servicing too. I suppose, however, that one gets what one pays for.

My views

First, there is this debate over whether Hong Kong is a cheap or an expensive place to own a second hand car. I think that there are parts of this business which are undeniably expensive due to the captive market for servicing and for insurance.
 
However I also believe that prices in Hong Kong are actually very inconsistent leading to some great bargains as much as over-pricing. The market here is small, so that if you need something specific it may take a long time to obtain, or be expensive. At the same time however, Hong Kong is full of irrational sellers, such as departing expats, which can yield great value both individually as well as through dealers. Additionally, in very broad terms mileage is inherently low compared to age and in the case of local owners at least, higher end cars are usually well taken-care of (expats are a bit rougher).
 

Secondly, there is the debate of going through classifieds or using dealers. Personally, I do not love too much choice and prefer the curation element that a dealership brings, even unintentionally. However that is just me. For those with a lot of experience with cars, particularly technical familiarity, dealing directly with a seller is fine and even fun.
 
However dealers can have benefits around the margins including near-term servicing for free and, particularly for first time buyers, dealing with all the paperwork, MOT etc. Furthermore, one assumes that in very general terms, dealers will be taking the better part of the inventory in the market (particularly those gems left by hastily departing people) and bargaining leeway is quite high. There may be gems amongst the classifieds also, but since it takes effort to list, it seems a bit self-selecting.
 

I will also say that I have bought one car and am buying a second, and have actually had a perfectly decent experience with Vin's. I found a car that suited my purposes (a 2011 Audi Q5 with a purported 57,000 miles), was able to bargain on it quite a bit (final price HK$92,000), and have since had it tuned and serviced at no cost including an oil change. Yes, the oil change should arguably have been done before purchase but I have had no pushback at getting things rectified - I think one just needs to be assertive in one's demands.
 
Factoring in getting the paperwork all done (no doubt the relationship with Kwiksure is symbiotic), I have no complaints and would go back again.
 
 
 
 

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COMMENTS
Ed 48 days ago
Get the best prices buying directly from expats on our used auto classifieds
 
To find autos for sale from various dealers in Hong Kong click here 

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