charankanya on July 21st, 2008
Soon after we arrived in Pune, we needed to buy a car. Luckily, we could borrow my parent’s car for some time, so we weren’t desperate to buy right away. We thought, we’d take some time to settle down, pay attention to the more urgent items like finding a school, opening bank accounts, getting phone connections, etc. Well, finally we had everything else taken care of, and the next on the list was buying a car.
Well, having just relocated from the United States, (and being rather particular of having done all the research), we first spent a fair amount of time trying to find the equivalent of Consumer Reports, to get safety ratings. (Heck, we had a tough time just trying to find out which cars come with air-bags). Anyways, so after spending some days on that we figured it’s probably just best to go to the dealer and test-drive the cars. Most of the dealers that we were interested in were rather far, the 2-hour window we had while our youngest was at school was not enough time. So, the car-buying project was put on hold indefinitely. (Still having my parent’s car made it easier).
A couple of months down the road, we happened to meet the CEO of one of the major car dealerships at an event. During conversation we happened to mention our frustration with not having enough time to go to the dealerships to test-drive the cars. So he offered to send a car to our apartment for us to test-drive. Wow, was I happy. I thought I was moving up in circles, if the CEO is offering to send a vehicle home to test-drive. Very blithely, I mentioned this the following day to another friend. Imagine my deflated ego when I heard her response: In Pune, all the car dealers send cars to your home for a test-drive. (They probably do that in all other parts of India as well). (Though why hadn’t anybody thought of mentioning this to us earlier?)

So the phones were busy the following day, and all the idle drivers in the apartment building would hang-out near us when a new car came for a test-drive. This went on for a few days, and we were wondering why all the watchmen have newly found respect for us (they had started saluting us), until a friend made us realise that we were test-driving all the top-models of the Toyota, Honda, and Skoda.

Finally we had narrowed it down to the Toyota mini-van, (the only mini-van available at the time), mainly due to fact that it was the only large car that had dual air-bags. (We were planning a lot of highway driving). Now the choice was diesel versus petrol. So one day the diesel version came home, and the next day the petrol version. We researched all the mileage, and the maintenance schedules, re-sale values, etc.., but I still wasn’t sure of which one to go for. Dare I ask to have them both brought together for a test-drive? I sure was completely taken aback when they agreed to send both home (for a third time) together for a side-by-side comparison. Now that’s what I call true Home Shopping.




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2 Responses to “Buying a Car”

  1. Hi Chanakya,

    Which car did you guys finally go for?? and what was the price?? (approx)..

  2. hi!
    I’ve just relocated to pune and i’m also looking for a car.
    do you know a good dealer I can trust? someone who is experienced in dealing with expats…
    thank you!

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