Chennaiites now a days head to nearby Puducherry (Pondicherry) to buy high-end cars following the steep hike of road tax (lifetime) in Tamil Nadu to 15 per cent from 8 per cent for vehicles priced above Rs. 10 lakh.
The number of car registrations is said to have fallen sharply in the city and prospective buyers rush to the erstwhile French colony where the road tax has been fixed at Rs. 50,000 for all cars.
Automobile agents preferring anonymity say a Chennai-based customer, be it a BMW or Mercedes or other high-end luxury sedans or SUVs that cost around Rs. 50 lakh, would have to pay just Rs. 50,000 in Puducherry, but if the same vehicle is registered in Tamil Nadu, he will be forced to shell out over Rs. 7.5 lakh as road tax.
Instead of paying such a hefty sum as road tax in TN, customers purchase a flat with the same amount and use it as residence proof to register vehicles in Puducherry, automobile agents observed.
Not just tax, even vehicle prices are approximately 30 percent less in Puducherry, automobile dealers pointed out an attributed it as a major reason for the mad rush in Puducherry regional transport offices.
Leave alone imported, luxury cars, even middle class people in Chennai prefer to buy their bikes from Puducherry.
Transport officials prefering anonymity said of evvery 100 bikes registered in the Union territory, at least 60 are from Chennaiites. Efforts to contact TN transport officials prove futile. The tax hike is indirectly benefiting consumers in Chennai and surrounding districts.
As Published in Deccan Chronicle, Chennai Edition