Wendy Knowler pays tribute to Durban man who exposed the cost of cars' spare parts

Wendy Knowler pays tribute to Durban man who exposed the cost of cars' spare parts

Malcolm Kinsey, a legend in South African motoring circles and the man behind the Kinsey Report, which has been exposing car part prices for the past 30 years and kept the manufacturers in check, died last week.

Malcolm Kinesey
Youtube screenshot
Wendy Knowler took a long hard look at his Malcolm Kinsey's Report - his 30th! - released exactly three months ago - to find the most ridiculously expensive parts (compared with their competitors) and ask one of the manufacturers if they’ve adjusted their out-of-whack prices since the release of the report.

He and his wife Jill usually collect prices - directly from dealerships in the greater Durban area, to simulate the consumer experience - in May/June but last year that was the height of restricted travel and social distancing with many dealerships on light duty. So they delayed the massive job until September. His approach was slightly different, too - along with personal visits to dealerships, he approached a few manufacturers to supply their retail prices, including VAT – which he then randomly checked at dealerships.

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When the report was published, Willem Groenewald, CEO of the AA, acknowledged Malcolm’s enormous contribution: “Malcolm’s thoroughness has again proved pivotal in bringing this much-needed information to consumers to enable them to make better decisions about their vehicle purchases.

"It’s important for us that consumers understand as much about their vehicles as possible, including that of replacement parts, and Malcolm’s work is providing a credible, reliable, and valuable service to motorists in our country."

Manufacturers took Malcolm’s report very seriously, and over the years parts prices which were embarrassingly high were quietly lowered in the following months. And if one of their cars fared well, with the cheapest parts basket in its category, they made a big deal of it in their adverts.

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But why should we care about the cost of spares, if we have service and maintenance plans and insurance?

Well, those plans expire after a few years, and here’s what Malcolm had to say about the price of crash/body parts and their impact on car owners:

“A factor that has become evident is the increase in the cost of body parts. Headlights, rear fenders and wheel rims on some models appear to be a great deal more expensive. This has a negative effect for everyone as it increases the contribution the owner pays for the insurance excess and the write-off point for a crashed vehicle, and it ultimately increases premiums one has to pay,” said Kinsey.

With most claims relating to accidents, you can be sure the cost of crash parts has a direct impact on the premium you pay.

The report covers nine vehicle categories, from entry-level (think Datsun Go and Renault Kwid) to executive saloons, a la the BMW 330i.

In the City Cars and Entry Level category, the Kia Picanto’s crash parts are way out of kilter with other cars in the category: the total cost of the 19 parts is R117,587, compared to R50,490 of the Renault Kwid. Next, the most expensive crash parts basket is that of the Honda Amaze, at R68,800 - still a very wide margin.

Take a look at this:

Picanto radiator: R9,200 vs Polo Vivo at R1,300

Picanto left-hand rear fender: R14,100 vs Hyunda Atos at R1,900


“The full complement of our parts basket is continuously reviewed, and adjustments are made in line with market conditions, competitors and the full supplier value chain. Pricing of selected Picanto parts has been addressed with our suppliers, and an adjustment will be made to recommend retail prices (RRP) in conjunction with the introduction of the updated Picanto range effective 1 February 2021.”

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Good news!

The price of parts for that monstrous, in-your-face Ford Ranger Raptor bakkie is hellishly expensive.

The Raptor's maintenance parts basket - cam belt, shock absorbers, fan belt - total a whopping R66,000, while that of its double-cab competitors in this category - are all under R10,000, including that of the normal Ranger:  R7,200.

And the Raptor’s aggressive bumper skins cost R12,400, compared with the Toyota Hilux’s R1,900 bumper skin. And the normal Ranger’s bumper skin is R2,300. Massive difference.


Range Rover Sport: R18 000

Close: Audi A3 Sportback: R17 300

Hyundai Tuscon: R13 800

CHEAPEST RIM: Nissan NP 200: R591

Here is a link to the full comparison of service, maintenance and crash parts of cars in nine categories.

Listen to Wendy's tribute here.

"Hamba Kahle, Malcolm Kinsey. I salute you" - Wendy Knowler.

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IMAGE CREDIT: Youtube screenshot

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