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AdBuzz LeadDue to an increasingly young workforce and an acute absence of quality public transport, Pakistan’s automobile sector is expected grow by approximately 15 to 18% this year.

Since purchasing a car is a major long-term investment for first time buyers, they should consider the following factors before deciding which car to buy.

New or old? Deciding whether to buy an old or a new car depends on knowing exactly why you are buying it. If you will use it mainly to get to work and back, then a used yet well-maintained car may be a good choice. However, if the entire family will use it for different purposes, then the reliability of a new car will offset its higher cost.

Owning or financing? First time buyers usually lack the capital to purchase a new car up-front, and have to commit to a five to seven year loan. Talk to multiple banks to get the best deal, read the fine print to understand your financial obligations, and ask a lawyer to vet the loan papers. Job security and a stable disposable income are important factors to consider if you choose to take on a long-term loan.

Aesthetics or functionality? If you plan to keep a vehicle for less than five years, look for models offering low mileage and high resale value. You should also calculate the extra cost of the add-ons and evaluate whether the additional expenditure will provide actual and not just aesthetic upgrades. Deciding the fuel specs is a crucial decision as well; petrol may be expensive, but wasting time in long CNG queues is also a hassle.

Local or imported? Recently, the market has been flooded with used imported automobiles at substantially lower prices. While you may get a good bargain, their spare parts are hard to find and expensive, and their resale value is considerably lower than newer, locally assembled ones.

Remember to account for the additional costs of insurance, maintenance, registration, taxes and trackers, since these add to the cost of a car.

– Tariq Ziad Khan

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 4, 2014.