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Rediff.com  » Business » VIPs left out in the cold sans hot wheels

VIPs left out in the cold sans hot wheels

August 18, 2005 12:10 IST

What do Amitabh Bacchan, Yash Chopra, Narayan Rane (former Shiv Sena leader), King Fisher, Le Meridien, Balaji Telefilms, Lupin Labs, Godrej and a list of over 100 celebrities, corporate houses and 5-star hotels have in common?

A 6-month waiting period before they can ensure restoration of their Mercedes or BMWs to their original state. Over 150 Mercedes Benz and 50-odd BMWs were salvaged from the torrential floods, which lashed Mumbai.

Over 200-odd VIP cars are now undergoing repairs and replacements at various Mercedes and BMW authorised dealer outlets. Amitabh Bacchan's two Mercedes are undergoing repairs at Auto Hanger, Andheri, while his BMW is being repaired at the company's authorised dealership.

VIPs are insistent on comprehensive work on their precious Sedans, much to the dismay of insurance companies. The dealers too are incapable of living up to their expectations.

"Many VIPs are insistent that the seats be replaced. After all the seat is a crucial part of the body of such luxurious vehicles. But with no stockists keeping seats as spares for existing Mercedes and BMWs, the wait could be as long as six months," said Mahendra Dhruva, president, National Surveyors Association.

The cost of repairs including replacement of spares would be about Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) plus, said the service station manager of an authorised Mercedes dealer.

"Convincing clients that there is little need to replace the seats as we are trying to repair the same, proves to be difficult," said Dhruva.

With luxury cars costing anywhere between Rs 30 lakh (Rs 3 million) and Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million), additional cost of replacing the seats would be of little consequence to us, said a senior hotel manager, whose two Mercedes had been submerged in the floods.

Authorised dealers of these luxurious cars are unable to undertake repairs, as many of the spares are not easily available. "We stock only fast moving spareparts. Many of the items damaged are not easily available in stock," said the BMW authorised dealer.
Freny Patel in Mumbai
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