The notification dated April 18, 2013 reads, “Cars manufactured prior to January 1, 1950 are free for import by actual users. However, such cars plying on public roads will continue to be subject to Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Rules, 1989.” The amendment has been carried out with immediate effect.
Import of cars made before 1950 allowed
There is no clarity yet regarding how the import duty will be calculated, although a flat duty structure could be considered to avoid under-invoicing of the vehicle’s value. The import ban had heavily restricted the number of classic and vintage cars in the country, sending prices skywards over the last decade. We could expect prices of these cars to reach more realistic levels once collectors start importing them in considerable numbers.
The president of the ‘Vintage and Classic Club of India’ Nitin Dossa welcomes this as a positive move. But he has concerns regarding how the cars will be evaluated for the amount of duty they will carry. Also, it is not clear if left-hand-drive cars will be considered for import. If they are excluded under the new rule, enthusiasts will be disappointed as it would not be possible to import fine American vintage cars such as Cadillacs and Studebakers.
Overall, vintage car collectors and admirers are thrilled as this has opened up options that weren’t possible before. An influx of vintage cars in the country may also lead to prices of vintage and classic cars already present here reaching realistic levels.