The Self Drive segment is relatively at the nascent stage in India market. Today, as travellers are looking out for more personalised experiences, this US$35 million segment is set to grow substantially in the next couple of years. Earlier, this segment was majorly dominated by the unorganised self-drive car rental space, which is now changing.
Speaking about the evolution of self drive in India, Aditya Loomba, Jt Managing Director, Eco Rent A Car-EuropCar said, “Self-drive cars, a decade back, could be seen mostly in Goa. Back then, one would contact multiple local car rental providers for the best possible prices. Today, the self-drive industry is emerging rapidly in India. From a US$35 million market today, we expect it to grow to north of US$300 million within the next two years. Being a developing country with infrastructural issues, most of the metro and tier 1 cities in India are still facing issues of traffic congestions and inadequate parking spaces. This has compelled the millennials getting attracted to this idea of car rentals, disregarding the conservative Indian households’ preference of car ownership. Moreover, since a major part of this segment keeps relocating frequently for jobs, the idea of investing in a car does not appeal to them most of the times.”
Internationally, the most popular self drive markets for India are Europe, Thailand, Dubai and Bali. Majority of the Indian outbound travellers prefer the chauffeur driven cars. Now with Self Drive, which provides more flexibility, travellers are looking at this alternative.
“The chauffeur-driven vehicle trend has changed over the years as travelling has evolved from being a family activity to something, which can be done with friends and, in recent times, even solo. Exploring places and freedom to choose where and how to go for Indians has impacted the large chunk of the market. However, chauffeur-driven and self-driven vehicles still have a different set of user’s altogether,” he added.
Eco Rent A Car has invested a lot into technology to enhance the experience of the travellers as well as from the safety aspect. “The foundation of Eco Rent A Car’s innovative services lies on the deployment of its innovative and ground-breaking technology in booking, tracking and paying for the car services. We are using special devices like GPS and OBD (onboard diagnostics) devices to ensure seamless user experience. To be precise, every vehicle has an onboard computer which compiles ample data such as distance travelled, speed, fuel consumption etc. in real time. All this data is captured by the device, decrypted by the software and presented in a comprehensible form to the end user,” he added.
To further establish the self drive segment in India has a few hurdles to be cleared. One of the major challenges is the intrastate border taxes which have to be simplified or relaxed. “For the India market, the greatest challenge is interstate border taxes, which the passenger has to pay whenever they cross any state border in India. Not only is it expensive, but it is also inconvenient for the travellers,” he added.