Chennai: Entrepreneur Surjith Jain could not help but sell his most favourite luxurious Audi A6 Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) for a paltry Rs 12 lakh after it got submerged in the devastating 2015 floods that battered Chennai and its suburbs.
The SUV, 2014 variant that cost him more than Rs 40 lakh, was in knee-deep water for more than a week in Kodambakkam in the heart of Chennai as the area where he lived was inundated.
Mr Jain is not alone. Lakhs of cars and two-wheelers were damaged in the November-December floods last year – some were beyond repair and several owners paid a huge sum to get their vehicles repaired.
“I sold my Audi A6 for Rs 12 lakh as repairing it was not worthy. It was submerged for over a week. Though I was just not interested in selling my most-loved vehicle, I had no other choice. Finally, I had to part with my vehicle,” Mr Jain told DC.
Long queues combined with desperate waits at the service centers became the new usual for Chennaiites after the floods. While service centres of major automobile companies like Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki roped in employees from other centers to the flood-hit city, employees at the smaller centers worked over time to meet the demand.
Several vehicle owners waited somewhere between two to four months to get the delivery of their vehicles given for service. “Even though technical staff from Tiruchy and Cuddalore was roped in to the city, we could not deliver the vehicles on time due to non-availability of spare parts. Also, there was a huge fund blockage from insurance companies, making the whole process time-consuming,” Ramesh Kumar, Deputy General Manager, Hyundai Service Centre at Vanagaram, said.
Over 95 per cent of the flood-hit vehicles were insured. “If the damage was beyond recovery above the estimated cost (as assessed by insurance agents), we refused to repair them,” Mr Kumar said.
“It took more than two months to get my ‘Triumph’ repaired as assessing the damage itself took time,” said Vignesh V, an IT employee. Thousands of vehicles that took a battering during the floods were put up to auction for a very meager prices. Flood affected vehicles like Benz 2015 model, Audi A6 and A 2014 BMW 3 series were sold for less than Rs 20 lakh each....