Post-Flood Chennai: A Sweet Spot For Buying Cars

- Varun Sharma   27-01-2016

          

Audi’s and BMW’s for Rs 2 lakh? Chennai is recovering from the worst floods that India has witnessed recently; floods that had brought this car-manufacturing town to its knees. As it turns out, the city has become a favourite hunting ground for car buyers and resale’rs alike. There is an astronomical drop in the rates of cars that have suffered water damage. A Land Rover (worth Rs 1.25 crore) is being auctioned for a meagre Rs 18 lakh – roughly 14 per cent its original price. Such huge bargains are opening up a windows for car enthusiasts to buy their dream cars at dirt-cheap prices; cars that would have cost them an arm and leg otherwise.

While owners can directly sell a damaged car, not many prefer to do it on account of the paperwork required as well as security issues. Alternatively, insurance companies deal with used car dealers who either repair it or sell it as scrap. The third option is to give the vehicles to auctioneers such as cardekho.com, auctions division and copart.in, which will try to get the best price for you.

The auction was conducted by cardekho.com at its yard in Tiruverkadu, Chennai. Online car portal, CarDekho is conducting its fourth flood-related auction, the previous ones being the 2005 Mumbai floods, the 2006 Surat deluge and the Jammu and Kashmir floods of 2014. Chennai however was a different game altogether. The sheer number of cars damaged in the floods (low end or luxury) exceeds the number of damaged cars in other calamities.

Car dealers from across the country have being flying into the city with their own mechanics to inspect these cars, and to win them in the auction at low prices.

Besides physical auctions, players like cardekho.com and copart.in carry out online auctions – thereby allowing people across the world to participate in the bidding process. And in a situation that works to the benefit of everybody from the insured to the auctioneers and the lucky buyers, the only losers turn out to be insurance companies.

These auctions also work to the advantage of insurers, who are otherwise stuck with the tough job of paying the clients their dues. “The more successful the auction, the better we can plug our losses,” said an insurance company official.

Insurance firms were flooded with as many as 30,000 claims for damaged vehicles during the November-December deluge. As many as 10,000 of these vehicles would have to be auctioned off, sources said, adding that high-end luxury cars would take at least three to six months to dispose of.

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