Pune: The unavailability of public transport during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown and the subsequent safety concerns forced the city resident, Girish Kulkarni, to invest in purchasing a four-wheeler, albeit a pre-owned one.
“Even though public transport is now available, I felt it was unsafe to board one. Elderly persons are not allowed to use public transport either. I thought it was safer to have our car to use for regular transport and in case of emergencies,” Kulkarni said.
Kulkarni is one of many who thought it to be imperative to purchase a four-wheeler for personal and emergency use amid the Covid-19 outbreak. As per the data provided by the used car dealers, the sector was witnessing a boom in the past few months, as against the sales slump it was recording before the lockdown had started.
According to the president of the Used Car Dealers Association, Pune, and owner of Autofin Solutions, Vinod Ahir, the demand for second-hand cars had gone up by over 50% since Unlock 1.0 began in June. “Before the lockdown, my outlet would sell around 15 cars per month. Since June, however, the number went up to at least 25 cars a month. Most of the used car dealers in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad have been recording a spike in the sales, which began towards May-end and has continued to show an upward graph since. This is the first time the industry, which was facing a downturn until February, has seen such a surge in demand,” he said.
Nakul Khandelwal, founder of Bid Wheels — an online bidding portal which deals in second-hand cars — said, “The demand is highest for the vehicles costing up to Rs5 lakh. We receive at least 300 enquiries per month for used cars in this segment. Such heavy demand has led to a supply crunch in the market, thereby resulting in an increase in the prices of used cars by almost 15% to 20%. The sellers, who now know that they have multiple prospective buyers, are negotiating with everyone for the best price.”
Another member of the association, who did not want to be named, said, “Most buyers are those who had never owned a four-wheeler. While the maximum demand is for cars under Rs5 lakh, we are also seeing decent demand for vehicles falling in the Rs15 lakh to Rs20 lakh segment.”
He said that the other reason for the increased demand for pre-used cars was the immediate shortage of new cars in the market. “Due to the lockdown, the production units of automobile companies were shut, leading to a supply crunch and subsequent price rise in that sector,” he added.

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