Maybe it’s your first time away from the kampung. You’ve just moved to KL from your hometown and you’re considering a vehicle of your own. Maybe you’ve never owned your own vehicle before.
Whatever the situation, if you’re in the market for a more convenient means of getting around, the question now should be; choose that shiny new Honda or stick with your budget and get a fuel efficient Myvi?
Malaysia has toooo many cars (heard that one before?). With a seemingly constant rotation of vehicles that were once loved and are still in great shape, all you might have to do is just look hard enough.
Still wondering whether or not to head down the used car road? Here are a few things that could help you make up your mind.
Cost vs practicality
Let's face it, buying brand new cars in Malaysia can burn a pretty deep hole in your wallet/purse. If you’re feeling the burden of other financial obligations resting on your tired shoulders, owning a car should be less about showing off to that annoying uncle that keeps putting you down and more about whether it can take you from point A to point B in one piece (isn’t that the main objective?)
If you answered yes, a used car may very well be the more affordable/more practical alternative for you.
When foreign companies try to sell their products here, they have to deal with the import duties and taxes imposed on them, which according to the Malaysian Automotive Association can be up to 155% of the car's actual value. This is one big reason why the on-road prices for vehicles in Malaysia are often ridiculously high compared to other countries.
If, for instance, you compared the starting prices of the Honda Accord and Honda Civic in Malaysia with the price ranges of the exact same cars in America, you'll notice the clear cost differences.
Similarly, when the Ford Mustang (a car known across the globe for being affordable) finally arrived made its way to Malaysia, fans were unhappy to learn of the high price that had to be paid (About RM435,000 or roughly US$111,500). For around that price range, you could buy yourself an Audi R8 Coupe, a Jaguar XJR or an Aston Martin Vantage Convertible.
These are just some of the factors that compel buyers to opt for second-hand options. Living in Malaysia, buying a brand new ride can be exceptionally tricky so make sure you think long and hard about what you want to purchase.
Okay, so let's say for argument's sake that you do get a new car. One of the major drawbacks you'll likely be dealing with over time is that a new car depreciates faster than your cash at a flash sale.
In fact, it depreciates faster within the first few years of owning the car (even if you're super careful!)
Depreciation is, in fact, easily considered one of the highest costs involved in owning any car and this is especially true for brand new cars. The moment the car leaves the dealership, you've already lost thousands of Ringgit through the depreciation process.
As a frame of reference, here's an illustration that depicts roughly how much depreciation can cost you for a Proton Gen-2 2010. Let's also assume that the depreciation rate is the same for a 5-year-old Proton Preve.
These calculations may be somewhat simplified but they are not far from reality. Other factors that can accelerate depreciation rates include mileage, the brand of the car, its history of reliability, the degree of wear and tear, alternative modifications and more.
By opting for a used car, you can bypass the hefty sum of purchasing a new vehicle, making the depreciation rate less of a burden.
Are you good with cars?
Were you the kind of kid that was always peeking under the hood of your dad's van whenever he was working on it? If you answered yes, you might just fall in love with the process of maintaining a decent used car that you got for a good deal. In fact, those automotive skills could come in handy during the inspection phase just before you buy that used car too.
Do you not trust yourself?
Maybe you just got your driving license or maybe you’ve just never been a good driver (hey, it happens). Either way, a used car can prove less of a pain if something bad ever happens on the road. A couple of scratches or a little bump in the corner could be fixed without too much hassle. Now, compare that to pigeon poop on a new car that just came out of the showroom…