Is the car you're looking to buy suitable for your needs? It may sound like a simple question - but it is so easy to be distracted by impractical cars when you're looking for a new car. You need to prioritise your needs. Is it space or is it speed? Looks or practicality - there's no point buying a sports coupe if you want to transport a family of four. Likewise, why buy a big clumsy off-roader if you're a city dweller? Why consider mileage as top priority if you travel less than 10km a day? Petrol or diesel? To answer these questions, and make your buying and selling experience as easy as possible, we have compiled a guide that should provide the answers to all your questions.
The first thing you need to is decide exactly how much you would want to spend on a car. Do not decide on a car based on the TV/Newspaper/ Radio or other advertised price. There are road taxes and cesses, registration costs, dealer costs and insurance premiums to be paid before your car comes home. You can get the on-road price quote in your city. Once you decide your budget and list your needs, you will be in a position to decide if you should buy a new or a used car.
You buy a car once in three or five years, but, you have to get it serviced regularly. If you need to travel 100kms for spares or service, it is going to be inconvenient and expensive. Then, it would be better to select a car with service facility in your vicinity – especially in the non-urban areas. For buyers who like to switch cars every 2-3 years, it would be better to choose a car from brands that depreciate less in terms of market value.
You also need to finalise what exactly you want from a car. You have to estimate the average monthly running of a car or the number of people travelling most of the time. There are a million features that you would want in your car, but you have to decide on a ‘must-have’, ‘want to have’ and ‘good to have’ parts which will help you a lot when it comes to the final number crunching. Of course, the safety features like ABS, airbags must be on your ‘must haves’ no matter what.
New/Used - Petrol/Diesel
New or Used?
•Brand new is always good. You get an untouched, non-tampered, factory quality assured machine – hassle free to use for a long time if maintained properly. Nothing beats the smell of a new car, but, it comes at a price - depreciation. Cars depreciate faster in the first two or three years of their life and the new car buyer has to bear that for the pleasure of being the first owner.
When you buy a used car, you have avoided the heaviest depreciation. Cars will still depreciate in the years that follow, but at a slower rate. New car buyers can choose the engine, transmission, colour of the paint, interior trims and accessories, but, a used car buyer will have to choose from what is available.
• New car buyers have the reassuring backup of a new car warranty. Nowadays, extended warranty has made it even better for car owners to get their expenses insured from component failures.
A used car buyer has no warranty. Nowadays many used car dealers do have ‘certified’ cars but the certifications generally turn out to be questionable. Also, you may not be able to figure out some issues with the used car in a short spin for a test ride which may crop up later.
• When you opt to buy a used car, it is possible to get a much bigger car for the same amount of money you spend – ‘a bigger bang for your buck’. You could land a Honda City for the price of a Wagon R or a Mercedes for the price of a Corolla. But then, there is the maintenance part of owning a car that has to be taken into account! Unless you are very sure about the maintenance and usage history of a car and you can afford the maintenance costs of the bigger car, it is always safe to buy a new car.
Petrol or Diesel?
Petrol as well as diesel engines have their own advantages and disadvantages. The gap between them is narrowing by the day making it slightly difficult to choose amongst the two. Add CNG to the mix and it gets even more difficult.
Petrol engines have always been smooth and refined, having minimal noise-vibrations and harshness (NVH). But these days petrol prices are almost 20 per cent more than diesel on an average (except states like Goa). Petrol engine cars are quite cheap as compared to their diesel variants – about one lakh rupees at least. Performance enthusiasts prefer petrol cars for their overall performance.
With the latest advancements in diesel engine technology, companies have countered the ‘slow’ and ‘crude’ and are now as refined as petrol ones. The current generation of diesel engines is mostly turbocharged giving it the missing performance boost. With inherent higher torque, the diesel engines are more economical than their petrol counterparts. Diesel prices being still regulated, it is quite cheaper than petrol, bringing the fuel costs of diesel cars to almost about half of that of a petrol car.
Considering all premises, buying a diesel car makes financial sense only if your monthly running is more than 1000 – 1200kms a month. If the monthly running of your car is less than that, you can opt blindly for a petrol car.
Finding your dream car
Finding the right car:
Now, if you have made up your mind to buy a new car, you will have to first find the cars that fit your set of requirements – the set you have already prepared in the previous section. If you are a newbie and do not have much knowledge of what cars are available in the market. Once you have shortlisted the cars, you have go the dealerships to see and feel how each car is to be in and to drive.
Many people are intimidated by the abundance of choices and the prospect of having to deal with a salesman but if you do your homework and you prepare yourself by knowing exactly what you want and exactly what you want to spend, it's as easy as walking into a dealership and letting them know what you're there for. You can always log on to know everything about the features and specifications and to compare cars. If you are not in a hurry to make a buying decision immediately, you can check the upcoming cars section for future launches that may interest you.
Not being intimidated often intimidates them. You can know what experts think about the cars you have chosen in the News and Reviews section on websites. Using online price quote systems are an easy way to know what's out there and how much you should be paying. Since you already have made your scorecard for cars based on your lists, it will be easier to zero in on the exact variant you need to buy – and safety features still should be sitting at the top of the ‘must- have’ list.
Negotiating with dealers:
It is always a buyer’s market which means you can bargain with dealers for a better deal, but you need to be prepared for the battle.
•Do some homework on market price before you go shopping so you know the value of the car you're buying and the value of your trade-in. That way you'll be better placed to barter with the dealer.
•Do some research for any offers provided by the manufacturer and/or the dealer. Also, some research about competitor cars, their prices and discounts would help.
•Look for a dealer well stocked with the car you want and he'll be more prepared to deal.
•Shop towards the end of the month when dealers are looking to get their quotas up.
•Get as many freebies as you can from the dealer.
•If you have someone who has the experience of buying a new car, do take them along. They will not fall prey to sales gimmicks that you may give in to.
Financing your wheels:
Few of us are able to hand over a wad of cash to pay for the car; we all need finance for the purchase.
•Before you start work out how much you afford to pay, and how much you can afford to repay.
•Have your finance arranged before you go shopping, but don't tell the dealer. Dealers will often cut the price of a car believing they'll make money on the finance.
•Finance through dealers is the most expensive, dealers are on-selling the finance to you and they are making a profit on the deal, so cut out the middle man and go straight to the source of the finance.
•Independent finance companies specialising in car finance often have the lowest interest rate, and some offer fast approvals with an online service.
Where to Buy
•In case of a new car, buying from a local dealer or an authorised dealer does not make much of a difference as long as you are getting a better price quote.
•The dealer, local or authorised, has to provide you all the guarantees and warrantees provided by the manufacturer.
•The authorised dealer may offer you extended warranty for your car which a local dealer may not be able to offer in some cases.