Hyderabad - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Don’t import a car. India is right-hand drive (thanks, England) and has prohibitive tariffs and rules about foreign cars. If you’re a diplomat, try and get a car from an outgoing colleague. If you buy locally, be prepared for a lot of hassle. Cars special-ordered get sold out from under the purchasers. People fiddle with odometers, don’t report issues. You’ll get a car eventually and probably be able to keep it running as this is definitely a country that values repair work. Maybe don’t get the latest thing with super complicated computer systems: you will want it repaired by a mechanic without access to diagnostic software. If you have a driver, make this their job. If you have a choice, I’d advise a smaller vehicle with ground clearance for rough roads/monsoon season. Don’t spend heavily on the insurance as an accident will usually be an on-the-spot negotiation for damages directly out of pocket. We bought an older CRV from a departing colleague and that worked very well. - Jan 2023

The streets do flood in the monsoon season so if you can buy something with higher clearance that is advisable. Otherwise road conditions are fine. Your vehicle will be dinged multiple times by motorcyclists or other cars. Just expect and be at peace with that. - Dec 2020

It is extremely difficult to import a car. I know of one officer who successfully imported a right hand drive car from the UK. Your best bet will be to purchase a car from an outgoing officer. Reach out to the Community Liaison Office (CLO) for classifieds. I drive a small SUV with good ground clearance that I think is perfect - it's small enough to navigate the sometimes claustrophobic roads but big enough that you can see and react to traffic around you. - Jul 2020

Cars are probably the number one cause of complaint for members of the community. The only real option is to buy from another diplomat, unless you're willing to spend money on a new car locally (a whole other series of potential problems there, not to mention expensive). If you do find a car available at the time you arrive, there's a good chance the car is old and will be in constant need of repair. Buying from another post is a huge pain and not at all recommended - it took almost 8 months for my car to arrive, at which point (it being old) it was no longer working, required more $ to fix it than it was worth, and it took another 12 months to get authorization to sell it for a few rupees. All that said, driving here is atrocious, though some do it (many don't last longer than a few months). Few abide by traffic laws. Streets are a competition of motorbikes, tuk-tuks, taxis, buses, people trying to cross the street, and sometimes livestock. - Jul 2019

Whatever you can figure out. Getting a car sorted can be very complicated. Those with a diplomatic mission should consider buying from an outgoing officer as it will save significant (months) time and many headaches. Best case scenario is to have a car upon arrival so you can get moving here, it can be a bit tedious relying on Uber/Ola, esp when you don't know your way around yet. Having a car and knowledgable driver makes your transition so much better. - Jan 2019

You can't import a vehicle to India. It's a right hand drive (left side of road) country. Plan for the process to purchase and register a vehicle to take 3 months. The easiest option is to purchase from a departing officer. - Nov 2017

The bigger, the better: it shelters you from accidents and it simply handles the streets and potholes better. You cannot make it in the city without a car. I cannot stress enough the importance of having a car in a place where distances are large and the city is not walk-able. Import restrictions, right-hand drive, and red tape make purchasing a car challenging - 6-7 weeks; the best bet is to buy from a departing officer and even before coming to Hyderabad. If you buy a new car you should expect to have dings and scratches instantly. - Sep 2016

I would just buy one here. They're cheap and more suited to the roads here. - Mar 2015

Most people buy second-hand cars. A few have bought brand new Indian-produced cars. - Jan 2015

Buy from another diplomat unless you are a masochist who enjoys byzantine government paperwork requirements. Most of your driving will be in the city on tolerable roads so you won't need a truck. - Nov 2014

Buy local. If you're posted to the consulate, buy from a colleague. If you are working for a multinational, but locally. Roads are in so-so condition, but you will spend a lot of time stuck in traffic. Make sure the AC works. - Jul 2014

We bought an SUV from another officer, and we really like having an SUV here. On the roads of Hyderabad, right of way goes to the largest vehicle. There are many bumps and potholes on the roads which are easier to handle in a higher car. Also, during monsoon season, when the roads flood, lower cars can end up with the engines flooding. - Mar 2012

India has strict importation rules regarding the age of the car and emissions. They only allow right-hand cars to be brought in. Many people buy a local car upon arrival. For driving in the city, cars range from small hatchbacks to large SUVs. Most of the city is paved well enough for small cars. Toyata, Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia, Skoda, BMW, Mercedez, Honda, and Hundai are all found here, along with Indian brands. Some expats even buy motorcycles and scooters here, to join in with the locals weaving through traffic. - Feb 2012

Any kind of car is fine. Check on current restrictions. You will definitely need a car. Rickshaws only go in certain zones in the city and are a hassle. There is no other public transport, and you can generally only get a taxi at the airport. - Jan 2011

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