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Uday Kotak (Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint)
Uday Kotak (Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint)

Opinion | A shift unnoticed

Uday Kotak has pointed to a behavioural shift as a factor. People are increasingly seeking alternatives to private transport, in his observation

Uday Kotak, chief executive officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank, has stirred a debate over sliding car sales. The usual assumption is that the current economic slump is to blame. Kotak, however, has pointed to a behavioural shift as a factor. People are increasingly seeking alternatives to private transport, in his observation. He has cited the example of his son, who, he says, now prefers to use Uber and Ola.

Uber, of course, has made it a mission to convince people that the availability of its service means it’s pointless owning a car. Cabs are easy to hail, and not much more expensive, if maintenance costs and a driver’s salary are considered. The finer point of a change in behaviour, though, concerns the declining influence of a four-wheeler as a status symbol. A culture that places a premium on convenience may be upon us, and car marketers may have to rethink their strategies. Does this mean their sales pitches need to turn utility-oriented? Perhaps not. The market could get polarized. Those who simply need to get from point A to point B will opt for cabs. Passionate motorists, however, would still want to get behind the wheel.

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