Everybody turns their head when they see a high-end expensive car or mortorbike passing them on the road. One would be lying if they say they have never had dreams of owning such a vehicle; but the price and many other barriers in the automobile market are some of the main reasons that these dreams are never realized.
Owning a vehicle from famous vehicle manufacturers such as Ferrari, MV Agusta, Lamborghini, Bentley, Ducati or Rolls Royce has always seemed a distant dream for many automobile lovers in India. This is even after these manufacturers have established themselves in the country, either through joint-ventures or just by themselves. Even though all of these brands say they see a huge potential for them in the Indian Market, their sales figures are still not meeting their expectations. Due to low sales numbers General Motors India even had to shut down operations.
There are numerous reasons as to why you don’t get to see many vehicles from these top international brands on Indian streets. One of the main reasons is the condition of Indian roads, which usually are not suitable to drive these classic vehicle models and the manufacturers tend to hate the international regulations that come with these vehicles as well.
Apart from these the Indian government wants to promote the manufacturing of vehicles inside the country as well. Because of this the import duties & custom duties are quite high and that in turn dissuades importing vehicles as CBU or Completely Built Units or assembling vehicles in the country using the CKD or Completely Knocked Down method.
Because of these reasons you will only be able to drive one of these vehicles if you are a millionaire who can afford to spend a huge amount of money just on a vehicle. So unless you fall into this category you might want to rethink about acquiring such a vehicle from a world-famous brand.
Unfortunately the money issue does not stop there. On top of the huge amount of money you will have to cough up for importing such a vehicle there are other expenditures that you will have to think of as well. These consist of service costs & service availability, repair charges and the high cost of spare parts that plague such vehicle models.
Most of these vehicles use high octane fuel such as 98 octane to run. Any consumer with such a vehicle can run into issues because such high octane fuel is not available in most Indian fuel stations. Using the standard unleaded petrol we find in most local fuel stations are not suitable for such vehicles and you run the risk of damaging your engine is you do decide to fill up your tank with such.
If you are comfortable with facing these issues and you really do want to import such a vehicle to India, the following steps will explain to you what you need to do.
The Regulations and process of importing a vehicle to India:
The following are the requirements laid down by the General of Foreign Trade (DGFT):
1) You can only import a vehicle that
Is not manufactured by an Indian company
B. Is not loaned, leased or sold before being imported
C. Is not registered in any foreign country, with regard to their laws, before the importing process has started.
2. You must have metric units (Km/h) in the speedometer in the vehicle.
For any four wheeled vehicle, you must have right-hand side steering and controls or Right Hand Drive. This rule does not apply for bikes.
The headlights should support the ‘keep left’ traffic initiative in India.
You can only import a vehicle from the manufacturer’s country. If you are importing it from another country, then the exporters should provide ample sources and documentation to prove the shipment of the vehicle from the manufacturer, to the country it will be imported from and finally to India.
The imported vehicle should not in any way conflict with the provision and rules of Motor Vehicle Act 1988.
If the vehicle is imported through a dealer or an importer,
It should pass the Homologation Process. This means that with any imported vehicle, the importation certificate should comply with rule 126 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989; that can be obtained from any testing agency. In laymen terms this means that your vehicle should have a Road worthiness certificate from any of the testing agencies in the country.
B. The Importer will hold all responsibilities of the provisions given to the manufacturer with regard to Rules 122 & 138 of CMVR, 1989.
C. You must also have written proof declaring that you will be submitting, the evidence of compliance with the conformity of production as per Rule 126A of CMVR, within six months of the after the importation is complete. If you fail at doing this, then you will not be allowed to any import of new vehicles from that brand afterwards.
You can only import vehicles through the custom ports of Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, Delhi Air Cargo, Nhava Sheva, Chennai, and Inland Container Depot – Tughlakabad.
You do not need to conform to the conditions 1 and 2 specified above under these circumstances:
If the vehicle was imported for Defense Requirements
B. If the vehicle was imported for the purpose of Research and Development
C. If you are an NRI coming through The Transfer of Residence Scheme, where you will be coming to India as a permanent resident after staying abroad for two years or more. The vehicle you will be importing needs to have been in your possession for a minimum period of one year while you were abroad.
D. If you are resident Indian and you win an imported luxury vehicle as a competition or event award.
E. If the vehicle was received as an heirloom, where the vehicle once belonged to a now deceased relative who lived abroad and was brought down to India.
F. If you are a differently-abled person
G. If you are bringing the vehicle down to be used by a religious or charitable institute working for a community benefit that is registered in India and is cleared under the Foreign Contribution Act, 1976.
H. If you are a Bureaucrat, or Diplomat or if you belong to a Foreign Embassy and who are have a recommendation of the Government of India.
I. If you are a news Reporter from any foreign news agency, that is approved by the Government of India
J. If you are an Indian company with foreign participation or have an office or a branch of any international industry in India.
Only right hand driven cars are allowed to be imported for the exemptions mentioned in the above point.
The above exemptions only allows for the importation of a single vehicle, however point 9(J), that is, an Indian company with foreign participation or have an office or a branch of any international industry in India can import up to a maximum of 3 vehicles.
Also, point 9(J) is given the allowance only to import Special Vehicles.
However the DGFT has the authority to relax the above rule under special conditions.
Also, imports what fall under point 9(H) who are excused from paying customs duty are also exempted from conditions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Some Important Fact you should know before importing a car to India
There are certain vehicles that do not need to follow the Homologation process when being imported to India. They are –
Vehicles with a Petrol engine that has a capacity of 3000cc or above
Vehicles with a Diesel engine with a capacity of 2500cc or above
Superbikes with engine capacity of 800cc or above
Also, any vehicle with a FOB (Freight On Board) or CIF (Cost + Insurance + Freight) value of $40000 or above does not have to follow this process either.
But keep in mind all of these vehicles will still require a certification from an authorized testing agency such as the ECE or NCAP before it is exported to India from the manufacturer’s country.
The Import Duties you can expect for Vehicles
-For luxury vehicles the import duty is 165% of their CIF value
– For bikes the import duty is 116% of their CIF value
On top of this State Government apply a registration cost with the RTO and will be subject change depending on the tax rates of the different state governments.
Final Impression on Importing Vehicles to India
When one realizes the effort and cost one has to put in to importing your dream car or bike to India they might actually think not to go ahead with the attempt. But If you are a person who is willing to chase your dream, there are ways to achieve them. This article was made with such people in mind and to help them get what they are yearning for!