Buying Second-hand Cars
Make sure you understand the vehicle documentation well enough
A four-year warranty is now pretty much standard with most cars and bikes in India. With some brands, as a buyer, you can try and achieve five-year warranties too. With proper service history and maintenance records, as well as a hopefully accident-free tenure, such cars are going to form the backbone of the rapidly emerging organised second-hand vehicles market in India.
With real estate prices shooting up and illegal street parking of unused or up-for-sale cars coming down, the ‘market’ has to move to a mix of online and weekend second-hand vehicle ‘melas’ in off-city centre locations. At the same time, vehicle documentation appears to be slipping backwards in India; stolen vehicles being resold under fake documentation has become a major risk.
A family friend, an NRI in his late 80s, got gypped, in this context, when he bought what he thought was a ‘clean’ second-hand luxury car with an impeccable track record. It turned out that the car had been stolen and re-registered. Then, since it was now in his name, he saw himself going to jail, before getting bail. The case continues; the car is not available to him; and, at this juncture in life, he is an ‘under-trial’ in a car theft case with all the relevant restrictions on his movements.

Micro-fibre Dusters Compared with Feather Dusters

A friend presented me with a wax-coated micro-fibre car-duster, a few weeks ago, and told me that it would eliminate the need to use a wet cloth for cleaning. I was sceptical about the whole concept at first; however, having used it for a few months, it appears as though some of the original shine and lustre of my seven-year old car has returned, without having to spend a minor fortune on shampoo and polish. In addition, there is the much needed saving of water and soap too. There are many branded and unbranded options available and most appear to be made in China, with prices varying from Rs200 to Rs800 online. Before recommending them, I would be keen to know from readers what their experience has been; because, for me, they are certainly better than feather dusters. These new dusters also successfully removed stubborn road-kill and other stains from the metal and glass on my car without applying cloth and water. 

A Good Car also Needs Safety

The Maruti Ciaz, over which so much hype was generated about three months ago, has been the subject of much debate in the automobile trade. While the manufacturer is still secretive about actual numbers, since factory despatches do not translate into actual sales, off-the-shelf availability has opened up—only for the lower versions. This is telling; because one big difference between the Ciaz and its competition is the availability of airbags in lower versions of competing vehicles, while Maruti provides airbags only in the more expensive versions.
This approach is going to cost Maruti dearly. The buy/no-buy decision is increasingly influenced by the availability of airbags, while other electronic bells and whistles and gizmos are not really something that one would pay a premium for. Wake up, Maruti!
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)
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