If you are looking at this article, chances are you have come across cars that come from either a car distributor or its counterpart, a parallel importer. To put it simply, an authorized distributorship has the right to sell brand new cars on behalf of manufacturers. On the other hand, a parallel importer purchases the same model overseas, there may be some differences in the ‘trim level’ or ‘specifications’, and imports to Singapore and generally sell at a more attractive price.
The main purpose of buying through a parallel importer is that you get more for your money! Often, cars are slightly better equipped and cost similar or at times even cheaper than their authorized dealership counterpart. This is because there are less overheads involved for the parallel importer. If cost is your main concern when buying a new car, you may find yourself a bargain! One additional benefit of a parallel importer is that the car may not be available at your authorized dealer. In this case, your only option is to purchase it with a parallel importer.
With what we have written above, it seems like PI is the go-to when buying a car after all, it is cheaper and has more options. However, there are some things to look out for when purchasing a parallel imported vehicle.
Warranty related issues seem to be the most common issue faced by buyers. Many who faced unsatisfactory after-sales service with their vehicles. Vehicle recalls and other manufacturing defects may have a harder time getting rectified. Unless you are getting a reliable and popular vehicle, for example Honda Fit, in the event where the PI refuses to honor the warranty, it may be costly and time consuming to repair if there are no spare parts available.
Secondly, there may be a longer waiting time if there is no ready stock available and you may have to wait a few weeks before you get your hand on your car. We recommend purchasing one where there is ready stock available to get your car as soon as possible!
Thirdly, authorized distributors have a long history and have set up shop here long before you were looking to purchase your car, parallel importers have the risk that they might just be gone tomorrow alongside your hard-earned money.
If you have made up your mind that you are going to purchase with a Parallel Importer, there are several ways you can check to ensure that your money is with a trusted PI. One of the most common ways is to do a simple Google Search to find any negative reviews. If there are, it is best to stay away and look at another PI for the vehicle you want.
Secondly, you can look up whether they are listed at the Singapore’s CaseTrust Accredited Businesses, they are required to a sum of money with CASE to protect consumers’ fees and deposits to give buyers like yourself a peace of mind.
These two simple steps will help to avoid getting conned by unethical and potentially fraud companies and experience a smoother experience when purchasing your new car.
To sum it up, it comes down to whether or not you are willing to put in the extra effort required so as to save a few thousand dollars or choose the option where peace of mind is guaranteed.