Today, certification on Used Cars is offered by many players including Car Manufacturers, Independent Players and Selling Dealers themselves. These programs aim to offer added value proposition compared to a normal used car that you buy from the market.
Manufacturer Certified Programs like Maruti True Value, Hyundai Promise, Toyota U Trust, etc typically certify and sell products from their own stable. For Ex: Maruti True Value certifies only Maruti Cars.
Independent multi-brand certified programs include Mahindra First Choice, Carnation Certified Pre-owned Cars, and certified programs from online players like Cardekho TrustMark, Carwale’s AbSure, CarTrade Certified.
Lastly, there are Dealer Certified Programs, where the selling dealer is certifying the car and offering warranty, etc. Progressive dealers who focus on customer retention and lifetime customer value offer high quality certified cars and hassle-free experience.
To make an educated assessment of various programs, it is important to understand the key components of used vehicle certification.
Key Components of Used Vehicle Certification:
Certification Criteria: Most of the certified programs have Age / Mileage / Ownership Criteria, which today is Up to 10 Years / 1,00,000 Km / 2 Owners.
Multi-Point Inspection: This is one of the most important components of Certification. Multi-point checks are performed mostly by dealer personnel at the time of purchase of the vehicle to ensure the car has not met with an accident, the mechanically (mainly the engine & transmission) the car is in good condition, odometer reading is genuine and vehicle documents are in order.
Refurbishment: The cars that meet the quality criteria are then refurbished. Refurbishment includes mechanical repairs, cosmetic upgradation and general service.
Certification: Once the cars are ready for sale after refurbishment, the car is again undergoes another stringent inspection process called Certification.
Certification is generally performed by personnel of parent companies who own the brand. Typically in case of Manufacturer Programs & Independent Chains, certification is performed by engineers employed by the company. Once the engineers are satisfied with the quality it is certified and warranty is attached to the vehicle.
Extended Warranty: Once the car is certified warranty gets attached to the car. In India, used car buyers, really don’t understand & appreciate the value of warranty. And therefore, dealers tend to sell warranty as optional package to the buyers even if the car is Certified.
After Sales & Customer Support: The actual journey starts once you have purchased the car and after sales service & customer support become most important for you. If you have a complaint or an issue who will address them?
A non-certified used car bought from another individual or a used car dealer, where you may get a great price deal will not come with all the assurances of a certified car mentioned above.
A word of caution: Some dealers tend to mis-use the certification and sell a bad car under the certification brand. So, ensure, your own diligence on the vehicle and documents before making a purchase. To know more about buying a used car read used car buying guide.