By Khulekani Dumisa
Public transport in South Africa has numerous issues and has many opting car ownership. This is usually not a cheaper option though as private car ownership can be costly. That’s why relatively affordable cars like the Datsun Go aim to present an alternative.
The case for public transport and some pitfalls
A good public transport system eases pressure on the road infrastructure. It means less road congestion and can be environmentally friendly. It is also on average more affordable than private car ownership. Unfortunately in South Africa our public transport system is not up to scratch. It’s unreliable and at times unsafe. The cost of public transport can escalate when there aren’t direct routes with commuters having to take many connecting trips. There’s also an opportunity cost with traveling times taking up a lot of time that could be employed elsewhere productively.
The Gap for the Go
Affordable cars like the Go aim to offer an alternative. The economics are simple. The public transport can still be more affordable but if you were to give up some comforts like one or two outings, and save yourself an additional amount of cash, you could be in a car like a Datsun Go. With that, you could also save yourself time wasted traveling and be punctual without spending ours in traffic.
The new Datsun GO also has an impressive fuel efficiency of the 1.2-litre engine, which has a combined consumption of 5.2 litres per 100km. This means that, with today’s fuel prices it should cost you around R14 to drive nearly 20 kms. Meaning increases in the petrol price won’t cripple your tight budget.
The Go’s challenges
The Go has had criticism around safety, an issue which also bogs the transport industry, especially minibus taxis. The Go was initially introduced without a passenger airbag and no safety equipment like ABS. The Go also fared poorly in crash tests. Datsun has addressed these issues with the updated version that’s currently on offer. There are two airbags and ABS is now on offer. This makes the Go a much safer bet.
Second hand option
Another challenge to the Go could be a second hand car. South Africa is known for its vibrant second hand car industry. You could pick up a lot of cars for the price of a Datsun Go in the second car market. There are also issues with second hand cars. Some are often hidden and could prove detrimental for someone buying on a tight budget. A new car like the Go comes with back-up from the manufacturer. The new Datsun Go is covered by a Datsun warranty of 6 years/150,000km, doubling the amount of time the customer can enjoy care-free motoring. A long warrant, like this one, allows customers to drive away with their new car knowing there won’t be any unexpected large expenses in a few years’ time. This is key for a customer who’s working with a tight budget and makes the case stronger for a new Datsun Go.
Going the Go Route
In essence cars like the Datsun Go have made car ownership more accessible. With improved safety, Datsun Go doesn’t mean the cash strapped consumer has to opt for a car with compromised safety features. The small but perky engine means there’s an incredible fuel savings but enough power to get things going. Finally, the long warranty means added peace of mind for the consumer.
Datsun Go prices
Datsun Go Mid Spec: R152,900
Datsun Go Lux Spec: R166,800
Datsun is currently running a 1-year subsidized insurance special on Go Mid Spec. Prices include 6 Year/150,000km warranty.
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