Thinking of buying used luxury cars? We spoke to India’s top auto experts to closely understand the affair and its hidden factors.
“Pre-owned cars are the absolute sweet spot of the car market. While most luxury cars are imported and levied with hefty import duties on purchase, it’s the second buyer that foots these costs, which explains the massive depreciation on the price tag over the years. This makes pre-owned cars hotly pursued in India,” says Ishaan Bharadwaj, car expert and Editor of The Race Monkey. According to a survey on the Indian pre-owned car market commissioned by Volkswagen India to Frost & Sullivan, by the financial year 2025, organised platforms will contribute 45 percent to the total Indian pre-owned car market. It also indicates a shift towards organised players offering better financing options to differentiate themselves from unorganised players and strong demand for used cars in Tier 2, Tier 3, and rural markets.
Facts to know
Here’s what you need to keep in mind before considering buying used luxury cars, according to Bharadwaj.
“Make sure all the car’s paperwork including registration, insurance, tax receipts, and service records are in place. Periodic maintenance is extremely important, irrespective of the odometer’s count. Ensure all services and parts replacements are done as recommended by the manufacturer. Finally, the condition of the tires and the wheel alignment.”
He added, “Doing a thorough check of all tech on board is essential too, just to ensure there’s no error displayed on the instrument panel. Electronic fixings can be costly”. And finally, underbody corrosion and paint quality. “Any difference in the shade means that the car’s been repaired and the panel has been refurbished.”
Authorized dealers, always
“It is very important to know from who and where you are buying your pre-owned car,” says Ashish Merchant, partner at Brokerdalal Premium, one of Mumbai’s top used luxury car dealers. “A good dealer filters the clients and this will reflect on the car being sold. We prefer to buy cars from end-users such as top corporate leaders in the city. The advantage of this is that the cars are usually well-maintained,” Merchant highlights while pointing out that non-flooded, non-tampered, non-accidental cars are essential.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz currently lead the used car market, according to Merchant. “As a dealer, we save about Rs 25 to 30 lakh within a few years of the purchase of your car. So, you’d have a car worth Rs 60 lakh, coming to you at Rs 40 lakh, within the first two or three years. The duties charged are currently quite high, but with a pre-owned car you can write that off,” Merchant concludes, citing the example of Indian consumers pays 100 % taxes on CBUs, often making it unaffordable. This depreciation proves to be a big incentive to buyers because of accessibility.
Top names in the game
If you haven’t heard already, the Mercedes-Benz Marketplace is a direct customer-to-customer platform offering great prices for sellers, a larger inventory of certified vehicles, and absolute transparency. Through this, the carmaker will help grow the pre-owned car business by encouraging Mercedes-Benz owners/other brand owners to upgrade to a new or used Mercedes-Benz.
Similarly, there’s Audi Approved: Plus, the pre-owned car division of Audi India, available to customers as a showroom experience as well as on a digital platform. There are 7 Audi Approved: Plus facilities across the country with plans of doubling up in the near future. An Audi spokesperson explains, “We often see entry-level customers looking at buying used luxury cars with a strong value proposition. Our pre-owned car business has consistently grown and it is an important part of our overall business strategy. We have a clear focus on selling every car twice, if not more.”
Another leading player in the market is Das WeltAuto, the pre-owned car biz platform from Volkswagen with an impressive reach of 105 outlets in India. With its multi-point comprehensive inspection and digitally equipped services, DWA is a platform to buy, exchange or sell pre-owned cars, complemented with the DWA Valuator App and dealer centres.
“Growth in the Indian used car market is driven by rural and Tier 2 and 3 cities in India, especially with the entry of manufacturer-supported channels. In combination with attractive financing options, this market will grow exponentially in the next 4-5 years,” concludes Kaushik Madhavan, Vice President, Mobility (Automotive & Transportation) Practice, Frost & Sullivan.
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