KOCHI: One day, Mujeeb Rahman K, the chairman and managing director of Royal Drive, which deals in pre-owned luxury cars, stood outside the gate of a bungalow in Kozhikode. The watchman said that there was a dog which was roaming around the compound. “I cannot control it,” said the watchman. “Only Madam can.”
So Mujeeb informed the absent owner, who called the wife. But for some reason, the woman did not come out. In fact, it took her an hour to put the dog back in its cage. “If I was a buyer, I would have walked away without waiting,” he says. “But since this is my business, I have learnt to be patient.”
When he went to the garage, he saw that it was a Mercedes Benz. “Eventually, the deal was done for Rs 60 lakh,” says Mujeeb, while on a recent visit to Kochi.
He says that there are two types of owners. Those who are humble, polite, and hospitable, and those who are arrogant. “In both cases, they might have started from zero and made a lot of money,” says Mujeeb. “But it is mostly individual character traits that determine their behaviour when they become very rich. Whatever be the case, I have to be careful about my behaviour.”
And he needs their patronage as he has just opened a 15,000 sq. ft. showroom in Kozhikode on April 2 to showcase pre-used luxury cars.
Asked about the vehicles on display, he says, “We have the Jaguar, Mini Cooper, Range Rover, Volvo, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW and the Lexus,” says Mujeeb. “The prices range from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 2 crore.”
The buyers are mostly businessmen, doctors, architects, and Malayali NRIs.
The problem with buying luxury cars is that the depreciation is very high. “So it is always better to sell it off after a couple of years and go for an upgradation,” says Mujeeb.
As for the cars, most are in very good condition. “When the price of the vehicle is very high, people take a lot of care of it,” he says. Mujeeb usually tries to buy a car within three years of the purchase, because it comes within the warranty period and so, servicing and other repairs can be done for free.
To ensure there are no legal or other issues, Mujeeb inspects the Registration Certificate. Then he double-checks it with the Regional Transport Authority, the car company and the insurance firm. “If everything is okay, only then will I take the car, he says.
Asked whether he can detect whether the car has an accident, Mujeeb nods his head. “For example, if the headlight is broken in a 2015 car, usually the date on the new headlight will be a later date, which means, it has been replaced,” he says.
Usually, Mujeeb does not buy cars which have had an accident. “There is a tendency for the car to have another accident because the balance is not there,” he says. “I don't want to pass this problem to the new buyer.”
Mujeeb also deals with expensive bikes like Harley Davidson, Triumph, Ducati, and Kawasaki. It ranges from Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. Harley Davidson's Fat Boy, at Rs 20 lakh and 1750 cc, is one of the most popular. “These bikes have great power,” he says. “But they have been made for temperate climates like America and Europe and not the tropical weather of India.”
The heat from the engine is very hot. “That is why the companies provide a jacket for the rider to wear,” says Mujeeb. “It is very difficult to drive in hot weather. Plus, we don't have good highways in Kerala. Most of the people ride after midnight so that they can have a smooth ride. That is why superbikes are not very popular.”
Customers are usually from the age group of 30 to 50 because only they can afford it. “All of them are in it for the joy of riding,” he says.
It is clear that for Mujeeb bikes and cars are a passion. And he developed this fascination
from his childhood. When he was studying in Class 9, in East Koder, Malappuram, his neighbour Dr KT Rabiulla bought a Tata Sierra. “At that time, the Sierra was the first car to have power steering and windows,” says the 39-year-old. “Since Rabiulla Sir knew I had a passion for cars, he called me over. As soon as I entered the house, he gave me the keys and told me to go for a drive in the compound. I was 14 years old. This was a turning point. I loved the feel of the luxury car. And this love remains as strong as ever within me.”
Most Popular Vehicles
Audi Q3 (Rs 20-30 lakh)
(Reason: It is a small car)
Mercedes Benz GLE350 (Rs 50-60 lakh)
(A SUV, the ride is smooth on Kerala's difficult roads)
Jaguar XF (Rs 25-45 lakh)
(Reason: This is a sedan and the design looks good)
Porsche Cayenne (Rs 80 lakhs to Rs 1 crore)
(Reason: High brand value)
"There are two types of owners. Those who are humble, polite, and hospitable, and those who are arrogant. In both cases, they might have started from zero and made a lot of money. But it is mostly individual character traits that determine their behaviour when they become very rich" -- Mujeeb Rahman K, entrepreneur