One would expect the former head of India’s No. 1 car maker to drive a glitzy new SUV or an imported luxury car, but Jagdish Khattar thinks differently. The industry veteran who spent 14 years at Maruti Suzuki now buys only second-hand cars and drives a used Volkswagen Passat.
“Rich people buy new cars, intelligent people buy second-hand cars,” said Khattar, the founder of Carnation Auto, a service and used-cars company he started in 2008 after leaving Maruti. The used car market, he said, is the future of automobiles.
The rising presence of well known car brands in the used cars business, coupled with growing acceptance of second-hand vehicles, is spurring demand. That is putting in shape the largely unorganised used-car business at a time when new car sales have slumped for the first time in more than a decade.
Customer-to-customer sales and small dealers still dominate used car sales in India, while workshops and mechanics also double up as agents to help people sell or buy cars.
Now, companies such as Maruti True Value, Mahindra First Choice and Carnation Auto account for about 15 percent of the market share, experts said. Despite a slowing economy and a gloomy outlook for India’s auto industry, these companies are expanding.