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Shopping for a used car is like going on a treasure hunt. There are amazing deals out there, and with the emergence of the Internet as a car shopping tool, you have every chance of finding a good deal on a car that meets your needs and fits your budget.
Buying a car is an important decision, because you wouldn’t buy a car every year and would like to use it for at least a few years.
Many people prefer buying their cars on a festival. Carmakers respond to this demand with festive season discounts and freebies.
Many first-time buyers prefer to purchase pre-owned vehicles.
Buying the right used car can be more difficult than buying a new car. We take a look at some of the important aspects that buyers and sellers of pre-owned cars should be mindful of.
Why pre-owned cars
“A pre-owned vehicle, in most parts of the world, satisfies one of the most important family aspirations—ownership of the first car. We see India evolving similarly,” .
Though affordability is a big reason, it may not be the only one. “Many people go to pre-owned cars because these are value for money. You can get a good vehicle at a relatively low price,”
An advantage of buying a used car is that these days many of them are fairly new. Earlier, people used cars for at least 10-12 years. This time period has now come down to around 5-6 years. Customers of used cars include buyers of a second or back-up car too.
Online and offline
Buyer-seller trust deficit remains a major challenge in the pre-owned car market, which has relatively low levels of consumer protection. “Great strides have to be made to enable good buyer and seller experiences. The industry is getting more organised and also being enabled with technology,” Palle said.
Online classifieds are playing a major role in consumers’ decision making. “This has become established over the past few years that people will go online first to find out the right price at which they can buy or sell,”
Most people do their research online, and the transaction happens offline. Apart from checking the pricing online, you also need to check with the dealers.
Compared to sellers, the buyers need to take some extra steps to get good deals. Make sure the vehicle is certified and have a warranty or extended warranty. When buying pre-owned cars from manufacturer-backed dealers and many of the auto portals, you can buy 6-month or 1-year warranties. For instance, at Mahindra First Choice, the pre-owned car business arm of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, you can buy a warranty for up to 7-year-old cars, covering all electrical and mechanical components. Buying from an organised entity can make it easier to get bank financing as they certify the cars on metrics such as age and usage, have systems to verify details from the transport departments, and they have tie-ups with financing agencies.
If you are choosing cars of less popular brands, ensure that maintenance services and spares are easily available near you. If you are upgrading from a two-wheeler to a car, or from a small car to a bigger one, do remember that the overall cost of ownership will also be higher.
For sellers the most important aspect, other than selling price, is to ensure proper transfer of documents. “If I am a seller, I will want to make sure that the ownership of the car gets transferred out of my name because if something bad happens with that car, and if the insurance is not transferred, for example, I will end up being a party to the problems,” said Palle.
Organised entities take care of these issues by giving their customers a proof of sale. In other cases, you must insist on getting a copy of the ownership papers in the new owner’s name.