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Irresistible bargain

Wide range of two-wheelers are up for grabs at this pavement display



Photo: P.V. Sivakumar

FROM THE vintage Vespa scooter to the elegant-looking Bajaj Pulsar, you can find them all under one roof. As for the prices, they may not necessarily drill a hole in your pocket since the prices range from a lowly Rs. 800 up to a staggering Rs. 40,000. Much depends on the vehicle model of your choice. A little harangue could help either of you save a few bucks, but nevertheless, at the end of the day, neither would feel let down with the deal.

But with swankier bike models hitting the roads every alternate day and brand new four-wheelers available for even a lowly down payment of Rs. 3,000, business isn't rosy anymore for the 300-odd auto consultants dealing in second-hand two-wheelers. Yet, even a minute's accidental stop while on your bike at the bustling King Kothi Road could still invite searching looks and inquisitive "Kya chahiya saab" queries. One can find at least 40 to 50 vehicles in each of the rows of shops lined up over a two-kilometre radius. Even an old rickety vehicle sold by a customer is made to look sparklingly clean after carrying out the necessary repairs and "make-up".

You can just dump your old two-wheeler of a 1990 model, say for a price of Rs. 15,000 and walk away with the instant cash to make the down payment for a new classy looking two-wheeler of your choice.

Asia's biggest market

"From my childhood, I have heard of this place as the ideal market to purchase or dispose off second-hand two-wheelers," says Ahmed Pasha, an employee of the Kallur Gram Panchayat, who had come all the way from Kurnool to purchase a Hero Honda Splendour 2000 model, from one of the consultancy agencies. "This is not the first time I have come here. I had purchased at least half-a-dozen vehicles for my friends and relatives in the district," claims Pasha.

Or take the case of M. Sanjeev Rao, an LIC agent in Secunderabad to dispose off the same model to get instant payment. "I needed money to purchase the latest variant of the Super Splendour. Since I cannot get a readymade customer for my vehicle, I thought this would be the best place to sell it off," says Rao, even as he does some hard bargaining with one of the consultants over the deal.

One can find at least 40 to 50 vehicles in each of the 250-odd consultancy showrooms considered to be the biggest old two-wheeler market in the entire Asia. "We get buyers and sellers from not only the city, but even other parts of the district," says Afroze Khaleel, proprietor of Kwality Motors. After taking into consideration factors like showroom rent, staff salary and other overhead costs, the margin of profits varies between Rs. 800 to Rs. 1000, says Khadeer.

Drop in business

But with swankier models hitting the market every now and then, the five decades of business is no longer rosy, says Hyder Ali, general secretary of the Twin Cities Auto Consultancy Association.

"Earlier, on an average, each of us used to sell 30 to 35 vehicles in a month. But during the past few months, hardly 15 to 16 vehicles get sold," he says. A variety of reasons like drastic drop in the prices of four wheelers — both new and second-hand — contribute to the woes of these consultants. Many middle-class buyers have shifted their focus to purchasing second-hand four-wheelers, which, in fact, is less expensive than some of the new two-wheelers.

Points out Syed Jaffar, proprietor of Regal Auto Works and Consultants, "These days, you can get even a four-wheeler for Rs. 30,000 for which there are again financiers offering attractive rates of interests."

According to Ali, about 20,000 people in the city are dependent on the sale and purchase of the second-hand two-wheelers in the city. But the future certainly holds bleak for them in view of the changing times.

R. BALAJI

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