Opinion

Car Buyer’s Guide – An Overview

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“Kitna deti hain?” is probably the most common question car dealers hear. While mileage is an important point to factor in while buying a car, it isn’t the only one. Whether you’re a first time car buyer or a seasoned car-hopper, choosing the right car to buy is never easy. The challenge is heightened by the fact that there has been a heavy inward flux of international car makers in the Indian car market off late, many of whom have chosen to set up local assembly or manufacturing facilities. The result is that the average Indian car buyer is served up a veritable smorgasbord of options, with parameters to differentiate between models ranging from the number of seats to the number of airbags.

car showroom buying guide

For those of us who’ve made the choice to buy our first car, it’s imperative we choose the right model in order to kick off our driving careers on the right foot. A botched first attempt can lead to unnecessary heartache and possible scarring for life. Most times, buyers end up being tunnel-visioned regarding the factors that they need to keep in mind while picking their first car. This could lead to regret in the future as a result of overlooking some key details. That said, the process needn’t be all gloom and doom as you could very well end up with a trusty workhorse you share many miles and moments with.

Here’s an overview of the things to keep in mind when purchasing your first car:

Choosing the right model

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The importance of this first step can’t be stressed enough. It may seem obvious enough that picking the appropriate model based on your set of requirements is key, but what trips up most novice buyers is how to arrive at exactly what their most pressing needs are.

One of the major factors to bear in mind is your own ability. There are some who’ve put in a considerable number of hours behind the wheel before getting their own car while others may be cutting their teeth after making the purchase. Thus while the former cohort has the leverage to choose more capable models, it is wise for the latter group to dream modestly for the moment.

Another factor which is paramount is the purpose that the car is going to serve. While some may view their car as a way to put long, sweaty bus rides behind them, for others it is a window to explore the world, akin to how Columbus felt about the Santa Maria. The shape your future car takes will depend heavily on the consideration.

Negotiating with the Dealer

A good haggler always gets the best deal. What may come as a surprise to many is that crossing swords with your local dealer isn’t the only way to walk away feeling like you landed a sweet deal. There’s about seven different kinds of discounts that buyers can take advantage of in order to get the market price of a car slashed. This includes dealer discounts, loyalty bonuses, corporate discounts, and finance and insurance discounts. Not everyone is eligible for some of these and the extent to which the price is lowered also depends on the car model and market conditions. Being able to make use of three to four kinds of the aforementioned deductions can lead to a considerable amount of money being saved.

"Tata Bolt 2015"
Image Source: www.autoevolution.com

Arranging a Loan

For those who may be saving for a rainy day or have had too many rainy days to have anything saved, there’s always the good ‘ole loan. There’s a chance a first time car buyer isn’t able to swing the entire amount on their own in which case a loan is the way to go. The challenge, however, is that choosing a loan provider can be as much of an uphill task as choosing a car itself. The relationship between buyer and loan provider lasts until the loan has been cleared so choosing wisely is of the essence. It makes sense to go with a bank you’ve been affiliated with if your experience with their other services has been a pleasant one. Buyers should also make sure not to gloss over the terms and conditions (as loaded with legalese as they may be) in order to avoid hiccups once the deal has been made.

Resale Value

So you’ve followed the car buyer’s guide and ended up with the car of your dreams. As much as you’ve enjoyed the machine and the miles it’s given you, there’s a good chance it’s time to give it up for an upgrade. Depreciation is possibly the biggest cost car owners incur and needs to be accounted for before purchasing the car. Factors that drive the drop in a car’s value include the company’s reputation, model supply strategy, maintenance costs, and accessories. Even factors such as the region where the car was used factors in. In coastal areas corrosion may result in depreciation while areas with good roads tend to mean a better faring car in the long run.

– Guide to choosing the right model… check HERE

– Tactics to negotiate with the car dealer for the best offer… check HERE

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Nicknamed after the nickname of his favourite car from the '90s (convoluted, I know), Prateek is a disgruntled Engineering student by day, vigilante by night, and fabricator of dubious bios in the interim.