Hyderabad: Want to drive a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S or experience any other super car you may have only heard of? Want to ride a Kawasaki Ninja ZX 14 R or enjoy the raw power of Triumph Rocket 3 or any other super bike you may have only seen in pictures?
Any of those ultra-luxury cars or monster bikes can all become yours – for the rental period at least.
Be it special occasions like marriages, anniversaries or birthdays, Valentine’s Day, an outing with the family, simply a joy ride or a sports tour or just to meet the desire of driving or riding your favourite vehicle, a Hyderabad-based startup caters to all.
DRIVEN, floated by the city’s largest and oldest car-rental companies, Noori Travels and 4Wheels Travels, offers a one-stop solution for all transportation needs in the self-driven and self-ride segment.
From Nanos to Volkswagens, Volvos, Toyotas, Audis, BMWs, Jaguars, Mini Convertibles to the Porsche 911, it offers the entire range to cater to every category of customers. The daily rentals begin as low as Rs.299 for a Nano and goes up to Rs.29,999 for the Porsche 911.
The fleet of motorbikes range from street bikes like the Honda Activa to Enfields, Harley Davidsons, Triumphs, Indian Scouts, Benellis, Ducatis and Kawasaki Ninjas. With bikes like Triumph Rocket 3 powered by a 2,400 cc engine, speed lovers can’t resist the temptation to ride the monster.
With a fleet of 150 cars and over 50 bikes and with a vast experience in car rentals, DRIVEN last year rolled out its services in Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.
“There is a lot of foreign investment here. Global MNCs like Microsoft, IBM and Google have their presence here. Many people come from outside and they need a convenient mode of transport. It is convenient when you drive the car yourself. It is complete safe because you are not dependent on the driver. There is also privacy because you can discuss anything you want in car. You don’t have a third ear listening,” co-founder Karrar Ahmed Taher told IANS.
He also saw tremendous potential in the self-drive/self-ride market in view of the rapidly growing middle classes who need a car for their daily routine.
“People show a lot of desire to drive these cars and bikes, which they can’t generally afford. They would never ever be able to drive for example a Porsche but it is available for them here. On a special day, it’s not difficult for them to decide to drive this car,” he said.
According to Karrar, there are need-based customers like those who have given their cars for servicing and also those going out of station but don’t want to drive wherever they are going.
Another segment of customers only desire a vehicle but don’t really need one. “On special occasions or when the weather is good, you want to take out an open convertible or you want to experience raw power of one of those cars,” the young co-founder explained.
DRIVEN has seen many women customers for its bikes during the last nine months. Some of them rode themselves but the majority gifted the ride to their husbands or boyfriends. “We did deliveries because they wanted to give a surprise,” Karrar said.
“The bikes are very expensive and most of the people can’t afford them. There is also a huge maintenance cost involved. Even if people manage to buy them, they get bored in two to three months and want to see something new,” he added.
After a good experience in Hyderabad and the other two cities in Andhra Pradesh, the bootstrapped DRIVEN is planning to expand to five to six more cities in three years. This year, it plans to roll out services in Goa, Chennai and Bengaluru. It is also looking at Delhi and Pune for expansion.
Karrar believes they would need 3,000 cars and 1,000 bikes for the expansion to five to six cities.
As a one-stop solution, the firm is also offering bicycles like Moonlander, Surly and Cannondale.
According to Karrar, India has around 2,000-2,500 self-drive cars against 20 million in China. “There is huge scope of business in this market,” he said.
He believes India is lagging because of legal hurdles and not so conducive infrastructure. He, however, felt things are now changing.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)