Automakers woo fleet customers

With the cab market witnessing rapid expansion premium car manufacturers are now willing to provide their vehicles to this sector. Industry sources cite the example of Honda, which had earlier kept its distance from the sector; it is now testing the market with its Amaze brand.

Says Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Honda Cars India: “For fleet customers, we are not on top of mind, so the initiative will take time to mature. We have given our Amaze sedan for that segment and we are testing waters now with the fleet market.”

The radio-cab market is something which is definitely going to have an impact in the future, he notes. Honda has already supplied 250-300 Amaze sedans to drivers attached to Ola and Uber. It plans to also sell the Mobilio multipurpose vehicles as well.

The cab market is no longer taboo as the segment – especially taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber – is growing rapidly, even as demand for vehicles from elsewhere remains muted.

Ola and Uber don't buy cars, but facilitate the sale to those who want to register with them as drivers. They also help arrange financing for the purchase.

While car makers such as Honda had kept their products away from the fleet market, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor had come out with specific fleet versions of their brands Dzire and i10, respectively, which were different from those meant for personal buyers.

Renault is another foreign auto maker in India seriously pursuing the opportunity. The French car maker is now set to launch a fleet version of its Lodgy, six months after the MPV's launch.