Shady practices with flood-affected cars in India

A huge number of cars comes to Taloja within 7 days to 15 days of a flood. Some of these cars make their way to the numerous mechanics in Taloja who work specifically on flood affected cars.

Thanks to the Team-BHP fan (he prefers to remain anonymous) who sent this information in. Heartfelt gratitude for sharing them with other enthusiasts via this Team-BHP share page!

I am writing this mail to make people aware of some shady practices going on with flood affected cars in and around Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

As most parts of Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, Thane, Shil Phata, and Panvel were affected by floods this year, there has been a multifold increase in the number of flood affected cars. I recently found out that the majority of these cars end up in Taloja for the following two jobs:

  1. Repair
  2. Transport to other cities without repair (Tier II and III)

In the first week of August 2021, there were more than 100 flood affected cars parked near Taloja Station being loaded onto container trucks very carefully for being transported to other cities. A colleague of mine interacted with a garage near my home, which undertakes jobs of flood affected cars only. He found out the following details of this business.

A huge number of cars comes to Taloja within 7 days to 15 days of a flood. These cars are bought from different locations and kept along the old Mumbai-Pune highway near Taloja Gaon, opposite the RAF camp, near Taloja Railway Station. Some of these cars make their way to the numerous mechanics in Taloja who work specifically on flood affected cars.

As per the garage owner, these cars are of the following ownerships:

  1. Individual owner gets the car to these garages for repair and then either takes it back or sells it. Generally, these cars have their number plates on them.
  2. Flood affected cars are procured by local dealers and online used car sites, repaired and sold to an unsuspecting client either locally or even online! Here comes the shady part. These cars bought to Taloja have their number plates removed in order to protect their identity i.e. photos going online suggesting that these cars were flood affected.
  3. Cars procured by local dealers from insurance companies, which were declared a total loss. Again, these cars have their number plates removed and are repaired.

Even the garage owner doesn't know the method of registration of the cars in the names of the further 2nd / 3rd owners as they have been declared a total loss. As far as I know, total loss cars are generally de-registered. Are some heavy under-the-table dealings happening at registration offices? But here we are, these cars will be sold to unsuspecting buyers. Most of these cars are sent to other cities for sale.

This garage had cars bought in from as far as Pen and Chiplun. I myself saw a fairly new Creta and an Altroz apart from 13 other cars.

BTW, the workmanship at this garage was absolutely ridiculous. Three boys were jumping on the Creta's rear seat after it was removed and bought out in the open, in order to drain the excess water from it. Electrical parts' repairs are just jugaad. Engine repairs are completely unprofessional. I felt horrible just looking at these cars. What happens to all those sensors in these modern cars? One-by-one they will malfunction over a short period of time - pity the unsuspecting owners.

I have learnt that with such jobs, these garages make a fortune to such an extent that they do not even entertain cars for regular service and maintenance.

Add to this, there is a huge stockyard of two major online used car businesses near these garages in Taloja and right now, they have at least 100 used cars in their stock combined. The nexus between these garages and these used car dealers can not be stricken off.

Witnessing this has shaken me to the core. Recently, a colleague of mine was looking forward to buying a car. I had accompanied her 3 years ago when she bought her first used car on my recommendation. This time though, I wasn't confident enough to ask her to go the used car way, as I am scared after seeing these practices.

I would suggest everyone to exercise extra caution while purchasing used cars. These cars are flooding the used car market. They may still be in a small number proportionally, but you never know when you'll fall prey to such practices.

Here are some pictures taken by me.

This Creta was not bearing a number plate right from the day it was brought to this garage:

Same is the case with this Altroz:

A few more cars lined up and few stored in the bushes next to the cars you see:

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