In the Indian context, usually, the biggest ticket purchase for a middle-class family is an investment in a house/apartment.
More often than not the second-biggest ticket buy is ... a car.
This is in spite of various options emerging including spending on holidays, better transportation options including metros, stock market, and the like.
The increasing prevalence of nuclear families: DISK (Double Income Single Kid) or DITK (Double Income Two Kids) has accelerated the purchase of cars.
Let us first try to understand the factors that guide the buying behavior of customers.
The following are prominent among the many reasons that drive car buying behavior:
The surplus income, after accounting for the basics and necessary, in a common household.
Car ownership is often natural progress in the aspirations of most people. Upgrading from a lesser vehicle to a higher vehicle is a major driver.
Need for the vehicle – commuter convenience including distance, safety, comfort, options of other modes of transport, weather conditions: hot/cold/rainy/humid etc.
Dual and multiple usages of cars by both the spouses and/or users.
Deficiency in customer expectations by the product or services attached to it by the existing proposition can motivate customers to buy new cars.
Damage to the existing cars due to unforeseen reasons including accidents is also a reason.
Government norms and guidelines can cause new purchases.
Eligibility and perks offered by the organization employed in. Perks could include Vehicle eligibility, Fuel allowance, etc. provided for that post.
Job profile demanding having a car for better customer interface and convenience.
Often, certain positions mandate ownership of certain types of cars for the sake of status.
Business Entities need to do regular purchases as an operational need and financial reasons like claiming depreciation.
Reward and Sales promotion schemes by business entities can promote new purchases.
Planned obsolescence could also be an important reason for replacing cars.
Ground Clearance, Turning Radius, Wheel base, Boot Space, Dimensions of the Car (length/width/height)
Engine cc, Max Power, Max Torque, Transmission (Manual/AMT)
Fuel Efficiency and Fuel Tank Capacity
Charging time/Distance before recharge: for Battery operated vehicles.
The technology of Fuel injection.
Peer pressure plays a pivotal role in driving aspiration for a car purchase.
Often, in Indian Societies, cars are offered as Gifts during weddings, coming of age, festivals, and on other similar happy occasions.
Certain festival occasions, like Diwali, often mandate buying of new products including cars.
Certain periods of the year see a sudden spurt or decline in sales.
Some customers also have a pattern of regularly replacing old vehicles with new vehicles.
Now that we have tried to decipher the factors that drive car buying, let us try to find tips for buying cars:
The most important tip is to rank the most fundamental reasons for buying the car: for example roads/terrain etc. This would help in identifying the car based on its functionality like hatchback/sedan/SUV etc.
The next tip would be the price band in which the type of car is fitting in.
This should be followed by the mode of purchase: cash, finance then EMI.
Detailed research on the inflow and outflow; and the finance options on offer are recommended.
A good CIBIL rating often decides if good Finance Options are available.
The features and accessories offered, both functional and aspirational, would then follow. Please prioritize the features and accessories, based on your aspiration and need.
Service backup and Spare parts availability, cost of maintenance should be an important criterion in the buying decision.
Another aspect that you need to keep in mind is the resale value.
After the above-mentioned criteria have been met, the Manufacturers, Brand, and the particular model need to consider.
Do thorough research from the data that is available, especially on the web. Study all the comparative data; and be ready with your important questions and answers on the model that you want to buy, when you are ready to test ride the car.
You can also go through the CSI and SSI ratings of the manufacturers, along with the ratings on Safety Test scores before arriving at your decision.
It is recommended to do dipstick research of the retailer, from whom you are going to buy the product. His reputation can often be a decisive reason for the proper and regular upkeep of your car.
Another reason that can be considered is the availability of quality used cars, in good condition. They can offer an option of upgrading to a higher caliber model at the price of a new model of lesser caliber if you so wish.
Leasing is another option that is offered by many Manufacturers.
Availability of Self Drive options on easy rentals and Cars on Hire by the aggregators and their cost-benefit analysis too can be considered.
The advent of New Technologies like Electrical Vehicles, Hybrid Versions should be in your purview.
The vagaries of the macro-economic factors like fuel prices, pollution norms, registration charges are playing increasing big roles in the buyer's decision, do not discount these factors.
In cities, the availability of Parking can be a factor for consideration.
Take the advice of references on the Car experience.
Complete all the Documentation formalities diligently along with a good comprehension of the Service and Maintenance policy.
And last but not least,
TAKE A TEST RIDE OF THE INTENDING CAR TO PURCHASE.
RESEARCHED KNOWLEDGE CANNOT EQUAL REAL EXPERIENCE.
Guess, you find the above tips useful in helping you make a judicious and informed decision on buying your Car.