The Indian automotive industry has seen better days. With the recent Covid-19 outburst, the industry took a bad hit. However, this is not the scene with the used car industry. Car buyers opted for the less expensive way of owning cars, and those with money looked at used luxury cars. The pre-owned luxury car market saw a boom and with brands like Luxury Ride catering to such customers, the segment grew.
To understand how the used premium car industry works, and how Luxury Ride was able to sustain itself through the lockdown period, Express Mobility spoke to Sumit Garg, the MD and Co-Founder of Luxury Ride.
Trying to understand how Sumit got the idea of entering the used luxury car industry, he said, “Luxury cars have always fascinated both the young and the old for centuries now. So, I was an avid fan right from my school days and the passion lingering through my engineering college days. Post my graduation from one of the leading engineering colleges in Karnataka, when faced with having to choose between a career and pursuing childhood passion, I chose the latter without hesitation.”
Luxury Ride was not his first business though. Sumit Co-founded KoiBhiCar.com in 2012, an online marketplace for pre-owned luxury cars. He later realised that the business needs an apt name since it deals with luxury cars. He recalls, “My first showroom in Delhi was a hard struggle as there were no cars to showcase in the showroom and requested my mentor and seed investor to lend cars just to showcase in the showroom.”
Today, Luxury Ride has its presence in 7 cities, with the one in Karnal being the biggest. It is spread across almost an acre, with the capacity to display over 50 cars. The business primarily focused on cars that range between ₹12 lakhs and ₹2 crores, which accommodates all the big names such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguars, Coopers, and even Bentleys. Sumit says, “The space was largely unorganised, with a handful of large players with the focus being less on this aspirational youth audience. This adversely impacted the space’s growth as trust and reliability are two key factors for any potential customer looking at a pre-owned luxury car since the investment was high. That is why we put every vehicle that comes to us through a 150-parameter check.”
Soon, Luxury Ride introduced insurance and roadside assistance to give customers a holistic package. Sumit says, “When the company does not have the exact car its customer is looking for, it goes all out to find one through its’ network of domestic and global contacts.” To date, Luxury Ride has managed to sell over 1000 cars, and service more than 10,000 vehicles.
Apart from selling cars, Luxury Ride offers more, such as a money-back guarantee, insurance, financing, warranties on engine and gearbox, and more. Sumit says, “Whether it is the workshop, maintenance, warranties and more. No one in India provides such services under one roof to pre-owned luxury cars.” Currently, Luxury Ride operates in Delhi, Gurugram, Karnal, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Dehradun, and Ludhiana. “Our aim is to open 50 new showrooms of Luxury Ride in the upcoming years and with this, we will announce two showrooms in 2-3 months in the leading cities of India,” says Sumit.
Speaking about the pandemic and the lockdowns, Sumit says, “Doing business amid the pandemic has been challenging as customers preferred a physical experience over the virtual mode of checking out vehicles. Also, every business in the industry was affected, and we also faced ups and downs, but an increase has been seen in sales post-pandemic as the pre-owned industry is still developing and will take a few years.”
And for those looking to buy a used luxury car for the first time, Sumit has some valuable advice. He says, “We always advise people to check the vehicle’s paperwork thoroughly, be it buying a car from a dealer or an individual, there are few documents that must be transferred to the buyer’s name.” Transfer the vehicle’s registration certificate and insurance first, while also looking out for the original invoice, loan history if any pending, service records, and the ‘Dual Fuel Certificate’. Sumit adds, “Buying a pre-owned vehicle from an individual seller of a certified dealer has its pros and cons. You may have to run behind the seller for all the above documents. While a certified pre-owned car dealer will help you organise these documents just before the purchase of the vehicle.”
Also, as a piece of personal advice, Sumit says when buying a used luxury car for the first time, look at the car’s history, and always opt for a test drive. He adds, “There’s always a thin line between truth and lies. Similarly, car dealers in this industry can also be differentiated as certified pre-owned cars dealers and non-certified dealers. You may get your pre-owned car from a certified dealer at a higher cost, compared to a non-certified dealer. But a car from a certified pre-owned dealer will come with a warranty, certification, buy-back schemes, and few days replacement guarantees.”
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