Getting behind the wheel in 2017 could be easier than you think

It’s 2017; time for a fresh start and to get that car to expand your personal horizons, or get a new set of wheels that offers the space and comfort missing in your car today.

So says Des Fenner, General Manager of Datsun South Africa, who points out that although many South Africans think that a new car is beyond their reach, the fact is that the market has never been more competitive. To potential buyers, particularly those buying their first new car, competition means buying opportunities and the time to swop bus timetables and taxis for a car and the call of the open road.

“Early in a new year is always a good time to buy a car. Doing research could offer some pleasant surprises,” says Fenner, proudly pointing to the success of the Datsun GO, the GO+ and the GO+ Panel Van as examples of cars that have brought new levels of affordability to the local car market and introduced many new owners to the joys of car ownership.

“Whether you are a first-time buyer, someone who is looking to upgrade the family ride, or looking for a vehicle to pick up and drop off goods for your small business, affordability is the key to happy motoring. Listening to your head rather than your heart is the way to buy a car,” says Fenner.

His tips for keeping a new car affordable include:

  • Looking at the monthly instalment and the number of months you will be paying. A few minutes on a calculator could change the way you buy your car. The internet makes this really easy as most bank sites have affordability calculators that deliver estimated repayment costs in seconds.  You will find out that:
    • If you handle your finances well, you could pay a car off in 60 months rather than 72 months and save money. For example:  A Datsun GO Mid purchased for R106 900.00, without a deposit, costs about R2 325.58 a month over 60 months (assuming an interest rate of 10.5%). Over 72 months, the payment drops to about R2 031.83, a difference of around R300.00 a month. The longer term is appealing when you look at your monthly payments, but there are other factors to think about.
    • Over 72 months the total cost of the car will be about  R151 216.43 with interest. Paid off over 60 months the cost drops to around R143 638.53. Taking less time to pay saves you about R7 577.90 in the longer term.
  • Considering paying a deposit. A 10% deposit on an  R106 900.00 purchase (again based on the Datsun GO Mid) means lower monthly instalments. Over 60 months the repayment would be about R2 099.89 a month, whereas over 72 months it would be around R1 834.65. A 10% deposit will save about R13 271.15 in costs over a 60 month term. Thinking carefully before taking on balloon payments and residual value offers to make a car affordable. If a car is traded in when the value is still high, the balloon and residual payments can be met. Examine all aspects of these offers carefully.
  • Weighing up service and maintenance plans. Some service plans offer reduced benefits as a car’s kilometres climb. Maintenance plans generally offer more benefits (at a higher cost) than service plans, but offer greater peace of mind.
  • Factor insurance and maintenance costs into your monthly costs to help budget for your new wheels.

Buying cars and keeping them going requires money. “Look after your cents and the rands will look after themselves,” advises Fenner.

His tips to help you save up for a car deposit and cover the costs of running your car include: 

  • Develop a budget and track your spending habits. Most of us can’t account for every cent we spend. Monitoring where your money goes for a month will help cut down on unnecessary costs and transform costs into savings. For example:
    • A large coffee a day could cost about R20 a cup. Over a working week that’s R100. Over 50 weeks that’s R5 000 a year, or 2 monthly car payments (taking the above calculations into account).
    • Reducing your number of personal accounts. Paying cash for clothing rather than using an account will reduce your spending. Clothes bought on account are usually more expensive, as you are often tempted to take more than what you need and opt to pay it off.
    • Getting rid of duplicated spending. For example, ask yourself if it is necessary to have a landline and cell phone account?
    • Becoming a savvy shopper and comparing prices before buying on everything from groceries to personal items.
    • Avoid impulse shopping and feel the rewards in your bank account.

“Thinking about the freedom and fun that will come with car ownership every time you feel tempted to spend, should stop frivolous spending. Save where you can and before you know it, that once elusive car will become a reality,” says Fenner.


Datsun originated in Japan as DAT-GO (the DAT-car) almost a century ago in 1914. The word DAT means ‘lightning-fast’ in Japanese but is also a reference to the three financiers who supported the business at the time – namely Mssrs. Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi – an acronym of the first letter of each name. Using the same logic, it was promoted as Durable, Attractive and Trustworthy, or DAT for short.

In 1933, Nissan’s founding father Yoshisuke Aikawa took over the business with a vision of “mobility for all”. The introduction of a light-weight, economical yet resilient car to meet the aspirations of young Japanese people in the early 1930s was named the ‘son of DAT’ – Datson - which later changed to Datsun. Local engineering and mass-production made the founder’s dream a reality.


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced the return of the Datsun brand, Nissan's third global brand, alongside Nissan and Infiniti, in March 2012. Datsun will provide a sustainable motoring experience to optimistic up-and-coming customers in high-growth markets. Datsun represents 80 years of accumulated Japanese car-making expertise and is an important part of Nissan's DNA. Datsun already started sales in India and Indonesia, while sales in Russia and South Africa will commence later in 2014.


Nissan South Africa is the operational hub for Regional Business Unit South, serving Nissan’s key South Africa market and 42 other countries in Sub Saharan Africa, including Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. In South Africa, the company offers a range of 28 vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands, including the popular locally-produced Nissan light commercial vehicles - the NP200 half ton pickup and NP300 one-ton Hardbody – produced at the company’s Rosslyn plant, north west of Pretoria. In 2013, the company made history with the introduction of South Africa’s first electric vehicle, Nissan’s flagship Nissan LEAF. This will be followed in 2014 by the reintroduction of the iconic Datsun brand, as well as the launch of the new Qashqai crossover and new X-Trail sports utility vehicle. Nissan South Africa is one of the top five automotive companies in South Africa. For more information visit our website at