MANGALURU: It’s hardly been a week since Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced Voluntary Vehicle Scrapping Policy in the Union Budget and the used car market has already started feeling the heat. Dealers of old cars are seeing a drastic dip in the number of enquiries while on the other hand, owners are showing eagerness to dispose their vehicles quickly.
For the used car industry, the new policy has come as a jolt as they were already struggling to recover from the Covid blues. Except the low-budget cars (within `3 lakh range), which had seen unexpected rise in demand post-Covid mainly due to fear among people to hop on public transport, the market for other cars is still down. Now, with the new policy coming in, the dealers are anticipating the worse days ahead.
Dakshina Kannada has the second highest number of cars in the state after Bengaluru. Dealers say they are eagerly awaiting for the notification for more clarity on the policy but majority of the buyers have already made a conscious decision not to buy old cars which is hurting the industry. Roque Lobo, an auto consultant, said, “In the last one week, I got at least 15 enquiries from sellers of the old vehicles.
Most of them want to sell Maruti, Tata and Hyundai vehicles that are more than 15 years old for a price of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh but there are no buyers. Some of these sellers have maintained the cars in a very good condition.” Venugopal Naidu, a dealer of high-end premium cars in Mangaluru, said people are making a conscious decision not to buy old cars and attributed it to confusion about the new policy. He said the sale of high-end cars was not promising post Covid but they expected sellers to rush and dispose of their cars once the new policy was announced.
“But old car owners have not shown such anxiety and it may take some more time to see the change on ground. In any case, the demand for premium high-end cars is likely to go down as its maintenance is also very expensive,” he added. Dilraj Alva, president of Dakshina Kannada Private Bus Owners Association, said at least 30 percent of 2,800 buses will be affected by the new policy and urged the Centre to relax the law for bus owners by making renewal of registration mandatory after 20 years instead of 15 years.