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Pros 'n' Cons: Buying a Car from Parallel Importers


Recent news reports of a steady increase in quota for the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) and the ever-expanding demographic looking to purchase vehicles from Parallel Importers’ (PI’s) has raised alarms for some quarters of the Authorised Distributors' (AD’s), dissenting an increasingly uneven playing ground.

But before all else, what makes these parallel importers and their offerings too appealing to resist? While we wouldn’t go into the details, there has been a steady supply of reports and articles on foul play from the rotten eggs of the said community.

With such reports, you’d think car buyers would be avoiding PI’s like a plague but the opposite is true. If anything, their market share has been on a steady rise over the years, with car buyers looking to PI’s to plug the gaps and voids left by the Authorised Dealers. Here, we looked at the Pros ‘n’ Cons to consider before making your next purchase from a Parallel Importer.



More Options

With the AD’s, options are restricted to only the models that the principle brands provide. PI’s on the other hand, have built a reputation of being able to go the extra mile in offering a wider range of models from a particular vehicle manufacturer.


Their unrestricted flexibility not only extends to the provision of different models limited through AD’s, but also the provision of similar models by the AD’s but of higher specifications.



Whether its buying a car or any item at all, when cost is a factor, it compels consumers to rethink their options; sometimes even opting for riskier ones. While PI’s may be able to offer substantially lower prices (likely due to lower overheads), they are prone to revision and are usually volatile in nature.


Another apparent factor is down to the lower Open Market Value of a PI’s vehicle which results in lower registration taxes, equating to lower retail prices.



Warranty Issues

With countless reports of foul play and deceit, this issue has been the undying Achilles heel of purchasing a vehicle from PI’s. Being at the mercy of PI’s, not only are warranties less comprehensive and restricted in nature, concerns have also risen from the fulfilment of it.

On that front, AD's would without a doubt, be able to provide more certainty and assurance with standard operating procedures and guidelines from the principal to adhere to.


Spare parts / Replacements

This is primarily down to the wide range of vehicles carried by PI’s. It’s an upper hand that PI’s have which for the same reason, also proves to be their shortcoming. With a wider range of vehicles in stock, it is almost impossible to store spare parts for each and every example on sale. AD’s on the other hand, are confined to selling more specific models with an easy supply of spare parts from their respective principle.

Without a strict requirement to carry spare parts for the vehicles on offer, purchasing a less than common vehicle could land you in a sticky situation. That said, it is uncommon for most car owners to keep a vehicle beyond 10 years. Hence, the risk of not being able to find a replacement for the fundamental part which would fail before 10 years, could be low.




It’s been said that PI’s and AD’s have different sources from which they acquire their vehicles from. Unlike AD’s who are able to capitalise on the steady stream of supply from regional plants, PI’s more commonly acquire and replenish their stockpile from the factory of the vehicle manufacturer’s origins.

Be sure to consult PI’s with a healthy and readily available range of vehicles of your choice to avoid any unnecessary delay.


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