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Maintaining a supercar in India

2nd Oct 2014 8:00 am

A supercar’s asking price is just the beginning. The costs to keep it going, is a whole different story. Aditya Bengali gives you the details.

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If you are an auto enthusiast, you've definitely dreamt of a sexy supercar in your garage. And maybe, you’ve spent a lot of time crunching numbers and worked out a labyrinthine plan to save up for the down payment. But, as you are going to find out, the allure of that sleek machine often clouds the practical side of things and buying one is just one part of the entire financial process.
 
Things such as service costs, consumables (oils, filters, tyres) can run well into tens of lakhs of rupees in the first couple of years alone and the insurance premium on these beauties costs as much as a brand new hatchback. Scratch, scrape or knock these sleek machines and you will be looking at repair costs that rival the down-payment on a small house. And we still haven’t considered the gargantuan appetite these things have for the high-octane, unleaded stuff.
 
The numbers you see here should be considered as ball-park figures as the actual costs could be significantly higher for more rarefied variants of a particular model. But it’s not all gloomy. There are a couple of supercars that won’t hold you to ransom (well, relatively) and a few tips to keep the bills to a minimum as well.  
 
Routine services
 
Keeping your exotic machine in top mechanical shape is as important as all those layers of wax that keep it super-shiny. The internals of a high performance machine face significantly greater mechanical stresses and hence, it’s critical that it strictly follows the maintenance schedule.
 
 
But how will these services impact your pocket? Speaking to various owners, it’s clear that Italian exotics are expectedly heavier on the wallet. For instance, a Lamborghini Gallardo would require at least one service per year and costs around Rs 1.5 lakh for routine service that includes a check-up and replacing fluids. This means, apart from the fuel bills, you’re looking at around Rs 30 per km of purely service costs (considering a typical of 5,000km a year these cars average)! The 911 Turbo is a bit ‘cheaper’ at around Rs 60,000 per service. However, for the most un-supercar-like maintenance costs, the mighty and reliable Nissan GT-R does quite well at around Rs 40,000 per service; that’s at an independent specialist’s as Nissan doesn’t service it here. Remember though, these services don’t include any major overhauls and a major service that occurs generally at 30,000km will cost two, even three times as much.    
Keeping it ‘affordable’
 
Getting your exotica serviced at the authorised service station is ideal. But for minor fixes and routine services, pulling into an independent specialist may save you packets of cash. This means you may have to import parts such as oil filters and brake pads yourself, which thankfully is a straightforward process and you can choose from a vast pool of aftermarket brands as well; some of which are surprisingly affordable.
 
 
Step one is to import your spares. You could have a look at few of the popular international ‘e-tailers’ that specialise in spares for certain brands. However, remember to check for and specify parts for right-hand-drive models; especially interior trim. Here are a few:
 
 www.eurofcp.com: Caters to spare-parts of German carmakers such as Porsche, Mercedes, BMW. Prices are reasonably competent and it’s a great site for smaller parts such as bulbs, wiper blades and window winder motors.
 
www.lambostuff.com: Great resource for drivers of the ‘Raging Bull’. They have a comprehensive listing of new, used and aftermarket spares, service manuals and merchandise; very thorough. You can also get in touch with them on twitter @lambostuff
 
www.suncoastparts.com: A catalogue for a wide range of Porsches, including vintage ones such as the 356. Of course, you will have to boot additional costs in the form of shipping and import duties. Typically, small, light items such as switchgear will attract around Rs 2,000 in shipping charges from the US, and consider import duties to be around 70 percent depending on the component and country of import.

As you may have figured, buying the wheels of your dreams is just a part of the expense. High maintenance costs will always be the price you pay for high performance, but some initiative and resourcefulness could just help you save on a fair percentage of those costs.

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