It was back in November 2013 when Carzonrent, the Urban Mobility Solutions provider, started its self-drive service – Myles. The initiative was aimed to offer benefits in the repository of customers as they can avail all the benefits of owning a car without the liability of installments, maintenance, car parking and fuelling.
The initiative was spearheaded by Sakshi Vij, CEO for Myles, who still continues to perform her duties in the same role for the company. Myles completes two years this November and we get candid with Sakshi Vij to understand how the initiative has developed over two years.
Here is the edited transcript of the interview with Myles CEO, Sakshi Vij:
Q1: The Myles project has been in business for over two years now. How has it developed since its inception? What is the market share for Myles as of today?
Myles, the self-drive service under Carzonrent India Pvt Ltd (CIPL), is growing exponentially ever since its inception. It is the first self-drive service to be introduced in India. When Myles started in November 2013, we saw an opportunity in the transportation industry. This opportunity was much larger than the opportunity in the Taxi industry that was being disrupted by multiple players across the world. This was an opportunity to disrupt the personal car ownership market.
Started with 14 cars and three locations, Myles has now grown several folds with a fleet of over 1,200 cars and 200 locations with presence in 21 cities. Myles gives an option to its customers to choose from 34 car models depending upon their needs; be it hourly, weekly, monthly or yearly. In the next 4 years. We have a community of over 40,000 Mylers who have ditched there personal cars for a more cost effective, flexible and convenient solution. Myles cars have driven over a Million “Myles” already.
Q2: How difficult is it to maintain your self-drive vehicles? Do you have any special contracts with the car-makers for better and quick periodic services?
We believe in creating an ecosystem for better cars to be available to our consumers. We follow a collaborative model in all our businesses with the manufacturers and ancillary services providers. They are important stakeholders in our smooth operations and we ensure that we are able to tie-up with Service providers with the largest national network in the areas of car cleaning, servicing and repair, Fueling, insurance etc. Our cars go for regular servicing to ensure a safe and a better ride for the customers. We also like working with startups in the car cleaning and servicing ecosystems.
Q3: Is it more difficult for businesses like yours to get insurance claims on self-drive cars?
Insurance, as a product for self driven cars in India, is at a nascent stage. Insurance firms are also learning from our experience and data to create products that can compete with self driven car insurance anywhere in the world. We also work closely with insurance firms to innovate on these products. We currently have an insurance product which enables the liability of our customer in case of damage to be limited to Rs 5,000-6,000 on most cars. We would like this to become lower to ease the pressure on consumers.
Q4: What according to you are the biggest USPs of Myles over its immediate competitors?
The biggest USP of Myles has been its reach and bandwidth of offerings. Having the largest fleet, we are present in 21 cities. We are present in airports and have expanded our pickup locations for more convenient service. We have 1,200 plus cars in over 250 locations and have 34 car models that we offer to our customers. No other self-drive service in India has that kind of reach and product bandwidth.
Q5: What are the challenges specific to the Indian market when it comes to self-drive / car rental business?
Indian market always holds more opportunities that we call challenges. The origin of Myles also happened because we realized that owning a car was becoming more and more expensive and the time that the car spent just parked in our garages and parking lots was increasing. This led us to create a proposition where people could have access to any car they have without buying it. The next opportunity/challenge for us is to work with regulators to introduce smarter car sharing systems which lead to de-congestion and better parking infrastructure in the country.
Q6: With a spike in competition from rivals and the ever growing radio cabs business, what are the future prospects for Myles?
The self-drive segment is at a very nascent stage. It is still growing and developing. We always encourage competition because it helps a company to know itself better and improve its services. It also helps the customers to choose the best service.
Myles, is the pioneer in self-driver service in India. In the next four years we would like to bring together a fleet of 50,000 cars in 50 cities spread across over 5,000 locations. We want to provide a Myles car every 400 meters in a city. We believe that Myles can effectively solve the congestion problems in urban cities caused due to the growing number of owned cars leading to more parking space needed. We aim at providing a responsible product which delivers financial benefits along with achieving an over-all infrastructure benefit to cities.
Q7: What measures are you planning to improve customer satisfaction? What strategy can we see in the future for the brand?
Customer satisfaction is at the core of the Myles program. We would like to give the customer a much better experience using a Myles car than they have when they buy a car. That is what we think will lead us to change the consumer behavior in a very big way. While we work on areas such as ease of booking, ease of driving and ease of network, we are also now working on strong technology innovations which will intuitively define the customer needs and make cars available to them as per need.
The other important factor for us is to be able to deliver the most affordable access to a car. Our pricing has been thoughtfully devised keeping in mind the price sensitive customers with a self-drive starting at a minimal price of Rs 37 per hour fuel included.
Q8: Expansion is a critical part of business. Do you plan to expand your fleet of vehicles in the foreseeable future?
Today Myles is the fastest growing self-drive brand in the category. We are seeing over 75 per cent utilization of our fleet of 1,200 cars. The demand from our customers who are tourists, NRIs (non-resident Indians), young urban professionals, single female travelers, is on the rise. As I said before, in the next four years, we would like to bring together a fleet of 50,000 cars in 50 cities spread across over 5,000 locations.
We wish all the luck to Myles and Sakshi Vij for their expansion plan. Stay tuned for more updates from the motoring world.