A slumping economy and Covid-19 have given India’s pre-owned car market a jumpstart

Despite the poor economic sentiment in India — that has caused massive layoffs and steep pay cuts — Indians are more willing than before to spend on safety.

The demand for pre-owned cars and two-wheelers in the country was substantially higher in July as compared with January when Covid-19 had not spread in India, according to data from Quikr.com, a leading online classified advertising platform.

The high demand was not limited to metropolitan areas and there was a substantial interest in pre-owned cars even from cities such as Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, and Coimbatore, Quikr said.

The trend, Quikr said, was due to an increased need for physical distancing amid the pandemic. “This represents the shifting preference of consumers towards owning their own vehicles over shared or public transportation in India,” it said in a note.

At present, India has around 2.6 million Covid-19 positive patients while the death toll from the virus is inching towards the 50,000-mark.

After the Covid-19 lockdown between March 25 and May 31, fewer people wanted to sell their vehicles as compared to before as they preferred to keep them for emergencies and personal use, Quikr added.

Affordable commute

Most of the potential shoppers in Hyderabad and Bengaluru were looking for second-hand cars that cost under Rs200,000 ($2,674), Quikr said.

Demand for pre-owned two-wheelers also shot up, which means that those who cannot afford cars also want vehicles of their own to avoid public transport. “Given how local trains are not yet operational, for an easy commute, consumers in these cities seem to opt for owning a two-wheeler rather than relying on shared or public transportation,” Quikr said.

Among the metros, Delhi and Mumbai saw the highest demand for pre-owned bikes in July.

The favourites

The country’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, was the customers’ top choice when it came to pre-owned cars. Maruti Suzuki’s Swift car model was a favourite among shoppers in Bengaluru.

In terms of two-wheelers, homegrown brand Hero saw a 113% increase in demand in July as compared to January on Quikr.

Honda Activa due to its affordability and being a gender-neutral model witnessed a massive spike of 279% in demand for the month of July, Quikr noted.

“Two-wheelers priced below Rs50,000 saw a 71% increase, especially from cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata. This reiterates the affordability factor especially since the pandemic and the economic slowdown that followed,” it added.

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