Buying a Car in India

Information on where to find cars for sale, how to pay, where to advertise to sell a car and the documents needed for buying a new or used car…

There are few restrictions on Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) or foreign passport holders for buying or selling cars. Regulations that do exist are:

  • Cars imported by foreigners and NRIs under the “transfer of residence” scheme can only be sold after two years, according to the central government’s Exim Policy 2001
  • Authorised car dealerships and dealers will ask foreign and NRI buyers for proof of residence along with government-issued ID proof

Foreign or Domestic?

Even though most foreign car models are available and prices are always negotiable, purchasing a domestic model offers more value for money. They are significantly cheaper than imported cars of comparable size and quality because they do not attract customs duties, and it is often easier (and cheaper) to service these cars and to find spare parts.

Some of the popular Indian car manufacturers are listed below:

Where to Buy

Cars to buy can be found at a local authorised car dealership. Most of these dealerships employ staff who can speak English. A comprehensive listing of car dealerships based on location and car model is available from automotive information site CarDekho.

Authorised used car retailers may have pre-certified cars that have been inspected at government-approved facilities and had their defective parts replaced. Pre-certified cars are often sold at a higher price.

A local automobile agent or broker will help to find a car and negotiate in the local language with independent dealers. Agents and brokers charge clients a commission for their services, generally equivalent to 2 percent of the vehicle’s final sale price.

Local and national newspapers have adverts for cars. Local newspapers will have more listings in a desired location. There are local newspapers in both English and in the local language(s), which are widely circulated. National newspapers carry fewer listings per location in a city, and they tend to be for premier and specialised vehicles. Links to local and national newspapers in India can be found online:

  • Commercial site Online Newspapers has a comprehensive listing of local and national Indian newspapers: Click here

Adverts for new and used cars are also posted online. Some of the most popular and extensive websites are listed below:

Online car enthusiast community Team-BHP has classified adverts for used cars and accessories.

  • It is an informative website that also includes useful tips and articles on buying and selling cars in India: Click here