As I scroll through blogs that compare different cars, weigh the pros and cons of the latest models and advise on the best car leasing options, I cannot help but think of my first car buying experience 15 years ago. The prolonged car hunt that spanned a year was so exhausting that a lot of excitement had subsided by the time I actually got ownership of the car.
During that time, people mostly relied on word of mouth when it came to car reviews because internet was still a relatively new phenomenon. I had to battle with increasing feelings of frustration and irritation as I tried to juggle the financial and research aspect of the car hunt. By the time I made my rounds to the neighbouring banks, asking about car financing options, gathering brochures, the dealerships would close for the day.
After visiting more than five dealerships, kicking a bunch of tires, taking scores of test drives, being poked and pestered by numerous pushy and rude salesmen, I finally found my dream car. Then came the nightmarish bargaining. Since I could gather very little from my meagre information sources, I had the perpetual fear that the dealer is most probably ripping me off. Hence, even after I convinced myself that I had struck a good bargain; it was hard to shake off that uneasiness.
Car buying today is a different ball game. Thanks to portals like Pak Wheels, OLX and CarFirst, I no longer have to take days off work to visit dealers, call people up for reviews and feel cornered when negotiating with the dealer. The best part is that most of these auto sites also have mobile applications that can push forward important notifications even when I am on the move.
I visit the Pak Wheels site, fill in basic information about me and my old car, upload some pictures of it and that’s it- I have put up a free advertisement to sell my old car. With that off the list, I move on to the research phase of car buying.
Normally, I would skip the used cars category, but the Suzuki Certified tag catches my eye. Apparently, the listed used cars have been inspected by Pak Suzuki engineers on 130 checkpoints and come with a year Suzuki warranty.
I visit Suzuki’s official site to cross check prices of new cars and come across its Finance Arrangement Program. The auto giant recently joined hands with Bank Alfalah to launch their loan program that assists in financing a car.
The headache inducing process has been divided into five simple steps. After I select my car, I am prompted to select the mode of payment and then I am directed to the EMI calculator that gives me a detailed breakdown of the full payment with a time frame. Once I get acquainted with my financial obligations, I fill out the application for the loan. I can revisit the site at any time to check the status of my loan.
Although I know that the approval might take time and that I must visit the dealer at least once to take a test drive, I exhale a sigh of relief as I realise that I no longer have to battle long bank queues, file extensive paper applications and call the bank incessantly for an update on my loan application.