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Until recently, Bangalore did not have a well-organised used-car market. Most of the pre-owned cars were sold through classified ads, owner-to-owner negotiations, or by people operating as intermediates called car brokers. Buyers of pre owned cars were usually dissatisfied about the condition, documentation and legal encumbrances. Besides the choice was limited to a few models.

There were no firms offering professional service. All that has changed over the last few years. What was termed as “Second-hand” cars became “Used” cars and is now popularly called “pre-owned” cars. Bangalore being the IT hub of India has great potential for pre-owned cars. The IT Boom, its cosmopolitan outlook, more jobs, more disposable income, easy finance facility for used cars, availability of good cars in the market at reasonable prices are factors leading Bangalore to become a place for used cars. It is estimated that every month 3,000 to 4,000 used cars change hands in Bangalore alone which is almost as many or more than new cars sold in the City.

Every individual using a two wheeler aspires to own a car, while those who own cars want to up grade their car. Cars are known to change hands between the second and third years of usage. Attrition at the top level in the IT sector has also led to the vibrancy in the pre-owned car market. Every time an IT professional does job hopping, his remuneration package with the new company included a new car. As a result, the existing car goes to the used car market. The weather conditions in Bangalore have less corrosive effect on vehicles than in coastal cities like Mumbai.

Maruti Udyog launched its pre-owned cars business under the brand name ``Maruti True Value'' at its first country outlet — Mandovi Motors — in Bangalore in October 2001. Pradeep Hiremath and Vivekananda Hallur, an engineer and an IIM graduate established Silver Star Motors to cash on the opportunity existing in the growing pre-owned car market. The company was incorporated about two years ago. Professionals identify accident free cars at reasonable price, refurbish if required and offer to the customers for sale. The company has two showrooms measuring 8000sq ft and 4000 sq ft at Banashankari and Koramangala.

Silver Star carries out a 25-point check of each car and share the information with the customers. They even take pride in the fact that their high-profile customers like a celebrity radio jockey. G Venkatesh and Sons have been in the trade of automobile consultancy for nearly five decades. It was founded by G Venkatesh in 1963 as a two-wheeler consultancy business. They conduct a car carnival every Sunday at St. Joseph’s pre-university grounds, Residency Road. His son, V Ramachandra has diversified into dealing in vehicle of economy to premium class four wheelers. But not everybody has had good experience with “pre-owned” car. Small time operators do not have a standard practices to assess the technical quality of a car and often buyers land up with cars which give them trouble soon after they have brought it. But for a few unscrupulous dealers, there are a number of trustworthy dealers in pre-owned cars.

In the pre-owned car market today WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) to use the IT language. Many of the one-stop dealer outlet provides everything under one roof— car finance, accessories, insurance and service. These dealers employee qualified automobile engineers and experienced mechanics who certify the cars for their performance, authenticity and reliability. In the process cars involved in accidents and stolen vehicles are rejected. Spot finance ranging from 60 to 90 per cent of the vehicle cost is made available. Most dealers have a tie-up with finance companies and banks. These dealers have swanky showrooms which match with the showrooms of dealers in new cars.

Source: Deccan Herald