And now, the e-rental war

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Updated: Dec 05, 2014 6:23 AM

After a price war in the e-tail space among Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, it’s now the turn of car rental firms...

After a price war in the e-tail space among Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, it’s now the turn of car rental firms, reports fe Bureau in Bengaluru. Two weeks after Ola launched autorickshaw services, TaxiForSure on Thursday announced the launch of Tata Nano taxis in Bengaluru at fares cheaper than that of autorickshaws, signaling the onset of a pitched battle to gain control over the country’s $8-10-billion taxi industry. The service has been launched with 100 company-branded Tata Nano cars and will be extended to other cities soon. The service will cost R25 for the first 2 kilometres and R10 for every subsequent kilometre.

The cost, in fact, is cheaper than an auto ride in Bengaluru, where a passenger has to shell out R25 for the first 1.9 km and R13 for every subsequent kilometre.

Quite similar to the competition amongst the e-tailers, taxi players like Ola, TaxiForSure and Uber are now locking horns for a bigger share of the pie.

While Ola claims to have over 35,000 cars in 20 cities across the country, TaxiForSure on Thursday said the company has recorded 3.5 million trips in 15 cities. While Ola is offering budget cars at R100 for the first 6 kilometres and R10 for every subsequent kilometre; TaxiForSure is offering rides for R 49 for the first 4 kilometres.

The $8-10 billion taxi industry in India, comprising over 15 lakh registered taxis, has witnessed tremendous interest from investors of late, the latest instance being Ola raising $210 million from Japan’s SoftBank at a valuation of $650 million recently. TaxiForSure, in comparison, is estimated to have raised close to $45 million since its inception in June 2011 from Accel Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners among others.

Raghunandan G, co-founder and CEO, TaxiForSure, said: “We are seeing great traction across 14 cities and we recently completed 3.5 million trips. The aggressive growth that the taxi industry is seeing requires innovative ways to bring more cars onto the road. Tata Nano is a well-loved consumer brand that is perfectly suited for city travel with its small footprint and zippy commute. It is also light on the pockets of our driver partners, who can now become entrepreneurs much more easily.”

Besides, the three-and-a-half years old company also announced a TV campaign, slated to go live on December 5 on Hindi movie, music, lifestyle, business and news channels.

The campaign, created by Lowe Lintas and Partners, will be spread across two months panning TV, print, radio and online.

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