Just last month we connected with a women entrepreneur that runs a self driving car startup. This week we connect with Rajesh Loomba, Managing Director, Eco Rent A Car. Self Driving Car startups are pushing their services to audience through extensive marketing with investor funds. Eco rent a car is probably one of the oldest car rental company and they started up when there was zero buzz about startups and startup investors.
About Rajesh Loomba and Eco Rent A Car
Envisioning the immense growth that the Car Rental and Taxi sector promises, it was in early 1974 that Late Capt. K.R. Loomba, ECO (Emergency Commissioned Officer) laid the foundation of the brand ECO Rent a Car with a single borrowed car. 22 years of toil metamorphosed it into a private limited company in the year 1996. The company now functions with a whopping 2500 vehicles across all categories and transports a record number of 20,000 passengers every day. Capt. Loomba’s two sons Rajesh and Aditya are now treading the footsteps of their father, taking this company to newer heights.
1)Mr Loomba why did you get into self driving cars industry?
Although Self drive market actually started gaining traction after 2010, we are probably the oldest company with self drive cab license issued by government of India. We acquired the permit in 1996. Due to poor infrastructure, roads and signages we could not really get much traction for many years. However last few years due to better infrastructure and more prevalence of the shared economy, especially amongst the millennials, are seeing a good demand for Self drive. We now occupy a niche of compact and luxury vehicles with a range of Toyota Etios, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, BMW 7 Series ,Toyota Camry Hybrid in Delhi NCR Bangalore and Mumbai.
2)How are you different from Myles and Zoom Cars?
We are a customer first company. Our service delivery, training of our employees, chauffeurs, vendor partners or vehicles, everything is designed to provide excellent customer service. Like other companies, we also experience great demand for all major cities in India. For us, growth should be coupled be outstanding end to end experience and that’s how we decide our venture into new cities.
3) How do you think self driving cars industry will be 10 years from now?
Next 5 to 10 years will see increase in demand for self drive rentals especially from young & urban population. Major chunk of the demand will be for leisure trips from Tier 1 cities. Tier 2 cities demand will shoot up significantly after consumers are exposed to the idea of self drive.
4)What is your advice, buy a car or lease it ? please specify reasons?
Both have their pros & cons and cater to different customer segments. However in todays date, given the tax benefits, it makes more sense to lease or rent a car and be free from all headaches of the process of buying, maintaining and selling a car.
5) What business model did you use to expand into cities?
Right now, we are present across more than 60 cities in India & use Hybrid model which is a combination of vehicle ownership & dedicated supply partners.
At the same time, to cater to the growing demand from our customers we carefully select & vet car partners. The car partners & chauffeurs then undergo a training program.
6) How do you maintain customer service quality?
We ensure that rigorous quality procedures across all levels are followed. Every vehicle & chauffeur (in case it is a booking with chauffeur) is thoroughly inspected by our team before it is dispatched for service. Regular audits & surprise checks are conducted by top managers. Proactive calls & communications are sent out to customer to understand their experience.
7) Did your business get affected by demonetization?
We have secure digital payment solutions in place already. After demonetization, there has been a surge in online payments
8) Any advice for startups that want to venture into this industry?
Ground transportation is an exciting & competitive space in which Eco has been operating since 1996. Our experience says quality of service and listening to the feedback from users are two important metrics to grow & sustain the business growth. Read more Indian CEO Interviews.