Hit by two bouts of rain since the end of last month, damaged vehicles, including high-end ones, have started landing up at car resale outlets, and are being sold at throwaway prices. About 8,000 to 10,000 vehicles have been damaged in the city, with 5,000 in western corridor alone, experts say.
Estimating that cost of repairs would be equivalent to buying a new car in some cases, many vehicles are being sold at 20 per cent to 40 per cent of their original cost. "Most of these (rain-hit) cars are landing up at local garages, although a few are landing up at multi-brand showrooms as well. 'Flood vehicles', as they are being called, are being sold at very cheap rates, ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh depending on the model," said Sai Krishna of Mohan Motors.
While vehicle owners are trying to get as much possible for damaged cars, it is a good time for mechanics and repair shops. "I used to get five to six cars a month for repair and reselling, but this month I have already got 20 cars," said B Vishnu, a garage owner at Kukatpally.
The city has been facing heavy rains, which resulted in the inundation of several low-lying residential areas in the last week of October and again in the second week of September, causing massive to over 15,000 vehicles, going by number of distress and breakdown calls received by traffic cops in the city.
"Some vehicles have been completely damaged and getting them on the road would nearly cost the same amount as buying a new one, especially if the engine has gone under water. When most parts of a vehicle have to be changed, it makes little sense to go for repairs," said E Suresh, administrator, Concorde Motors.
"There are at least 4,000 to 5,000 vehicles in and around Kukatpally which were inundated during the last two episodes of incessant rains in the city ," said B Ravi, in-charge body shop service, Gem Motors, Kukatpally. Another sales manager of a prominent multi-brand used car showroom admitted to having diverted 93 such clients to local garages, with at least 10 wanting to exchange luxury cars.
The situation has also meant an up-grade for many. B Krishnakanth, a software analyst, turned in his Swift Dezire, that lay inundated for three days at Nizampet, and is thinking of upgrading to a newer model. He settled for Rs 2 lakh offered by a mechanic. "The cost for repair would be over Rs 2 lakh," he said. He is now mulling buying a Skoda Rapid.