Zoomcar to shift to marketplace-only model by year-end

Self-drive car rental start-up Zoomcar India to sell the cars in its fleet over time


Zoomcar started an associate programme, encouraging people to attach their cars to its platform, in April last year. Photo: Mint
Zoomcar started an associate programme, encouraging people to attach their cars to its platform, in April last year. Photo: Mint

Bengaluru: Self-drive car rental start-up Zoomcar India Pvt Ltd will shift completely to a marketplace model by the end of the year, and will sell the cars in its fleet over time.

Zoomcar started an associate programme, encouraging people to attach their cars to its platform, in April last year. Right now, the 2,600 cars that make up its fleet are a mix of its own cars and those of its associates.

While the firm has consistently talked about ambitions to scale this up, founder Greg Moran said at a press conference on Wednesday that cars owned by associates would account for 100% of its fleet by the end of the year.

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“(Cost) is certainly a consideration, but not the prime consideration. This provides for a much better customer experience and allows us to scale more. The biggest challenge has always been various supply constraints,” said Moran.

Zoomcar charges a 25% commission on the revenues that its associates make.

Interestingly, ride-hailing firm Meru, which started out with an inventory-led model, shifted to a part-inventory, part-marketplace model, even as other ride-hailing companies like Ola (run by ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd) and Uber, which started out with marketplace-only model, invest heavily in leasing cabs to ensure a steady supply.

To make the peer-to-peer experience seamless, Zoomcar on Wednesday launched a solution called ‘Cadabra’ that will let car owners feel more confident about renting their vehicles out to the firm. Zoomcar has a mobile app, using which customers can unlock cars they’ve rented, without having to interact with car-owners.

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Zoomcar will fit cars with its Cadabra solution which logs information on how its customers are driving and provides feedback on this. This also enables car-users to get real time information on fuel levels, distance travelled and engine health. The Cadabra system will also offset maintenance and insurance costs for the company, Moran said.

Zoomcar is not the only one trying this method. Other self-drive car rental start-ups, including Myles and Revv, are attracting private owners and dealers to put their cars onto their rental platforms, as they look to expand their fleet.

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