The Kerala Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) in Kochi has seized five luxury cars that are used by the dealerships as test vehicles. The MVD seized the vehicles as they were still operating on the Trade Certificate (TC) as test cars and it is illegal according to the law.
Operating on red numberplates
We have the red number plates on vehicles often in India. The MVD seized the vehicles under Section 41 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 for ‘a reasonable trial of demonstration’. The TC plates is a temporary authorization and can be used by the dealers for short trials only. The rule says that the TC vehicle should not be used in a public place other than for trials and for proceeding to a weighbridge or returning from there.
Kochi cops flagged down a Mercedes-Benz GLS as the driver was talking on the mobile phone while driving. When the cops checked the vehicle, it had already done more than 10,000 km and was still on the TC plates. The vehicle was a test drive vehicle used by the dealership to give drives to the prospective customers. After stopping the Mercedes-Benz driver, Kerala MVD checked a few dealerships of high-end cars and found it to be a common malpractice.
Car dealerships and showrooms often use them on the test drive vehicles and later sell such vehicles. Registering a vehicle costs around 20% of the ex-showroom cost, which is quite high for such luxury vehicles. Many dealerships simply use the TC plates and then sell the vehicle at a concession. Such vehicles are not even sold as second-hand vehicles as they have never been registered.
The MVD has seized one BMW vehicle and two each of Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen branded vehicles. To get the vehicles released, the owners will have to pay Rs. 2,000 fine plus the road registration tax of the vehicle.
An inspector who seized the vehicles said,
“The sold-out vehicles should be registered with the department and road tax must be paid. But many dealers violate both these riles. While a vehicle with TC can be used for short trials we have found that the dealers drive them around for long distances besides using them for other purposes. The misuse the TC and resist from registering the vehicles with the department to evade sales tax”
We can see more of such raids in the future. The cops have started doing raids on various dealerships in the state. Although the dealership network of the manufacturers have opposed the move and have said that the CMVR rule allows them to drive such demo cars on TC for as long as they want.