India is a leading battlefield for taxi-hailing services as Uber and home-grown Ola are fighting fiercely to steal market share of each-other. The fight for cab-hailing crown seems to be getting more interesting as automobile major, Mahindra has also shown interest to throw its hat into it.
According to a Times of India report, Mahindra may join the cab-hailing space but unlike Uber and Ola, the company will have frugal approach.
Anand Mahindra believes that the days of personal commuting may be limited, especially in congested cities and metros. Going forward, electric vehicles will be the preferred mode for the ride aggregators, as demand for petrol and diesel cars is going down.
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Asked whether Mahindra will have similar offering like Ola and Uber, he said, “We will look at every possibility”. He, however, added that unlike Uber or Ola, which burn tremendous amounts of cash to keep the customers rolling in, Mahindra will look at niche solutions. “For example, why shouldn’t Mahindra have a ride-sharing app that offers Thar SUVs in Goa? The niche applications will do better. We will not burn cash”.
The automobile giant will also look at incubating some startups that are already operational in the space.
Earlier this year, there were media reports regarding Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to launch app-based taxi service as early as this year. Meanwhile, talks of Reliance planning to take on Uber and Ola with Jio Cabs has been doing the rounds for more than a year now.
According to the Japanese investment giant, Softbank, which is also an investor in Ola, on-demand cab hailing aggregation market is slated to touch $7 billion by 2020. Last year, cab-hailing apps registered almost 4X growth in 2016 over the last year, according to a report by market research and advisory firm RedSeer in February this year.
The cab-hailing apps offered about 500 million rides in 2016, up from 130 million rides in 2015.