Early indications for big car trends in 2018

Despite a turbulent 2017 for the automotive industry, early indications show new big car trends for 2018…

“The automotive industry has faced a turbulent 2017. Manufacturer exits, global political upheaval and recalls have proven that the only certainty for the market is uncertainty – nonetheless, there are early indications of new trends emerging, says Jeff Osborne of Gumtree Automotive.


Electricity is very current. India, Norway, Britain, France and China have announced their intention to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels in cars by 2040 and Germany vows to achieve this goal by 2025. Impressive and affordable electric and autonomous models are already available but in 2018 we’ll see the big brands fight to launch the first mass-produced electric vehicle.

Even smarter cars. CES 2017 (the international Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas) was choc-a-bloc with prototypes boasting some form of autonomous driving capability and intelligence. Honda’s impressive artificial intelligence assistant (HANA) and their ‘Safe Swarm’ concept, enabling vehicles to mimic the behavior of schools of fish to ensure safer driving, were the stand-outs. 2018 is likely to see further exciting developments in this space, especially as tech giants like Google and Apple are either competing or partnering with traditional manufacturers to gain a slice of the pie.

The law chases the tech. The first autonomous motor vehicle fatality occurred in 2016, which sparked draft bills for autonomous and electric vehicle testing in Europe and the USA. 2018 will likely see these bills fleshed out even further as legislation tries to catch up to technology.


Vehicle sales recovering. After 18 months of negative numbers in SA, the new car market saw some improvement mid-2017. This uptick is likely to continue into 2018, with the huge proviso that the local political and economic environments are relatively stable.

Movement on the Right to Repair. The proposed New Code of Conduct, which seeks to provide consumers with the right to choose independent workshops and alternative parts without voiding their warranties, could lead to legislation. Should that happen, it will provide freedom of choice for consumers and, possibly, some reduction of cost but it will also place some strain on dealerships and insurers, and will seriously compromise the vehicle manufactures ability to preserve the technical and safety integrity of their products. 

More shifting sands among brands. Chevrolet withdrew from SA during 2017, following Daihatsu & Citroen’s departure the year before, and SsangYong effectively paused their operations. But Opel decided to stay, with a new distribution and service arrangement, and two Chinese brands, BAIC and Haval, arrived. The local market probably has too many players for its scale so some more changes can be anticipated but they won’t all be negative – there’s talk of VW bringing the popular Skoda range into the country.

Consumers will continue trading in and up. According to the latest VPI by TransUnion, Pre-Owned car prices are climbing while new cars are priced below inflation for the first time in years. This will no doubt see many consumers “trading up” – selling their current vehicle and taking advantage of competitively priced new cars, particularly since private vehicle sales are becoming more commonplace. Gumtree alone sees over 1.4 million South Africans browsing the pre-owned car section every month, while tens of thousands of pre-owned cars are listed for sale at any given time.

Via: Gumtree Auto South Africa