Kochi: Automobile industry, like other segments, is going through a phase of technological disruption with the evolution of electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles and the like. The biggest casualty would be the traditional automobile dealership model as automakers the world over are in the process of transforming themselves into mobility and connectivity service providers as
Kochi: Automobile industry, like other segments, is going through a phase of technological disruption with the evolution of electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles and the like. The biggest casualty would be the traditional automobile dealership model as automakers the world over are in the process of transforming themselves into mobility and connectivity service providers as well. These waves of change are visible across Kerala, too. Six months ago, the Kerala-based Indus Motors – one among the largest automobile dealers in the country, especially of Maruti Suzuki, forayed into rent-a-car business in a big way. The brainchild of Afdhel Abdul Wahab, Director of Indus Motors, Indus GO also shares the idea of shared mobility and transportation as a service.
In an exclusive chat with technopolis, Afdhel informed that Indus GO is now considering launching a subscription model for purchasing brand new cars. He feels that a major shift is happening in the mindset of the people wherein they don’t want to hold on to assets, especially cars anymore.
Automobile dealer Indus Motors has forayed into rent-a-car business, based on the idea of mobility and transportation as a service. A major shift is happening in the mindset of the people wherein they don’t want to hold on to assets, especially cars anymore
“Owning cars used to be an element of social status. The trend is changing which is evident from the decline in car sales in cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi, among others. People there are adopting other modes of transport which is being leveraged by cab aggregators as well as car rental service companies. Simply put, it is a sort of I-don’t-want-to-burden-myself-any-further kind of an approach. In India, automobile industry still has enormous potential as the per person penetration of vehicles in the country is still very low. However, given the transformation created by disruptive technologies, we really don’t know what will happen in the next decade or so. It appears that things are going towards shared mobility and optimum utilisation of vehicles, taking into consideration the looming environmental calamity. Hence, it’s important to be adaptive and stay relevant,” he says.
Afdhel’s concept is simple. Why do you want to buy a car when you can subscribe for it, and even earn decent revenue out of it? “For instance, consider a person who wants to use a car only on weekends. He can subscribe a car from me for a monthly fee. Whenever he is not using the car, he can give the vehicle to us for rent-a-car business. I will share a certain per cent of the revenue with him. And, we become sort of partners. Similarly, consider an NRI family which owns a car but is not able to use it for months. Instead of buying, subscription would be an option for them, too. When you buy one, you will be required to pay EMI, which is a liability. And, you have to take care of the maintenance and insurance renewal aspects. In the other option, one needs to just subscribe and we will take care of these things,” he informs.
Is it not contradicting your existing business model? “Yes, some people would say so. However, the whole concept of shared mobility is meant to bring down the car population and the world is moving towards it. We are actually going to where the market wants us to be,” he says.
Indus GO provides mobility services all over Kerala with a fleet of around 250 cars. That the customer can drop the vehicles at a location of his or her choice makes Indus GO more user-friendly. “We have applied for licence in Chennai and Bengaluru. We are also looking for Venture Capital funding for scaling up,” he says.