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Old 10th September 2015, 11:35   #1
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Default Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

Number of cars sold as a taxi in India is 10% currently. That is a huge number. I never expecetd it to be such a large number. It's more than 2 Lac cars per year. No wonder companies are making special efforts to sell cars as taxi. Few of the cars are mainly selling as a taxi only like Innova, Travera, Indica, Indigo CS, Etios, Dzire Tour, etc. I wonder if not sold as a taxi, these models will sustain in the market or not.

"Car makers are tapping into the growing demand for taxi fleets, fuelled by aggregators and service providers such as Ola and Uber, which is more than double the growth in vehicles sold for personal use in the country.

Fleet sales are accelerating at 15-20 per cent while personal car sales are growing at just 7 per cent, according to industry executives, who said the sharp increase in demand for fleet taxis and rental cabs has opened a new avenue for growth for models hit by slowdown as well as enhanced competition in the industry.

Not surprisingly, Hyundai Motor India, within 18 months of the launch of its compact sedan Xcent, has started positioning the model for fleet taxi segment.
Similarly, Renault plans to launch the seven-seater version of its multi-purpose vehicle Lodgy for the fleet segment next month to make the most of the growing demand. Both these models clocked much lower volumes than the manufacturers had anticipated and the fleet taxi segment offers a clear opportunity to make up for the shortfall, experts said. A few months ago, Hyundai started offering i10 hatchback for the black-and-yellow cabs segment in Mumbai and Delhi. Maruti Suzuki has followed suit, with its premium hatchback Ritz. Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice president-sales and marketing at Hyundai Motor India said the share of the fleet segment has doubled over the past few years to 10 per cent of the 2.2 lakh vehicles sold per month.

"The ownership and usage pattern of cars are changing. Despite owning a car, a lot of people are relying on radio cabs and fleet taxis to meet their specific needs. We think the opening up of fleet market can definitely add 1,500 units to the monthly sales of Xcent in the coming months," said Srivastava. To meet this growing need, Hyundai Motor India has set up a separate team for fleet segment within its corporate sales team. Srivastava said the take-off in the fleet market has just started and the share of fleet market can easily double over a period of time as penetration in India is still less than 10 per cent, whereas in developed markets 25-30 per cent volumes come from radio cabs and fleet sales.

The cab market in India is estimated to be about $6-9 billion, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 12-13 per cent. With the increased penetration of the rental cab companies in the interiors of the country, the industry expects additional demand of 60,000-90,000 new cars per annum. The number of taxis plying across the country has grown to 2 million in 2014-15 from 1.7 million about three years ago. However, organised players command just 6 per cent share of the taxi market in India. Toyota, which has seen the share of fleet cars increase to 25 per cent from 20 per cent in Etios sales, is roping in local financers and tailoring a package for the prospective buyers of this segment. "Out of 11 per cent growth posted for Etios sedan in 2015, almost 30 per cent was fuelled by the taxi market. The demand is high and it can only grow," said N Raja, senior vice president-sales and marketing at Toyota Kirloskar."

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/48892207.cms

Last edited by aniketi : 10th September 2015 at 11:37.
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Old 10th September 2015, 12:57   #2
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

Interesting, given that in our society, most people try to avoid vehicles which have a taxi image. In fact, Innova aside, almost all the other cars you have mentioned suffer from the horrible taxi-image, which along with a few other issues, are the main reason behind their poor sales to private users.

Interesting to note Hyundai entering this segment, and wonder how the Xcent will fare. Space, boot space, low cost of maintenance and spares, are key parameters for most taxi operators, and I am not sure how the Xcent will score on these criteria compared to the most popular trio (Dzire, Manza, and Etios).

Here is a relevant link and discussion: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...axi-badge.html (The Curse of the "Taxi" Badge)

Last edited by lamborghini : 10th September 2015 at 12:58.
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Old 10th September 2015, 14:24   #3
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

Taxi segment does not need any fresh designs, features such as bluetooth connectivity, start/stop button, etc. What is important for them is mileage & long term reliability. So the cars that proved its mettle on a long term would be the ideal cars for taxi segment.
That is the reason Indica / Indigo are sold even now. That is also the reason, Ritz which has become a poor seller now & i10 which has become long in the tooth has become a good contenders for taxi segment.
Individual car buyers hate boxy looks. But if that can give better interior space (Logan/Verito, Etios, any Tata / Mahindra SUV), the boxiness is welcome in taxi segment.
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Old 10th September 2015, 14:41   #4
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

The exponential growth of aggregators like Uber and Ola would have contributed a great deal to this. The scenarios under which these cabs operate no longer need spacious rear seats or big boots. So smaller hatches and the compact sedans are becoming popular in the taxi space.

I see a lot of Xcent/Ritz/Micras running as cabs in Bangalore also.

Since more and more people are relying on cab services in the City, having a non regular car as taxi helps increase the feel good factor to some extent also.
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Old 10th September 2015, 18:03   #5
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

Apart from Taxi sector, I believe car makers should also tap fleet sales to self-drive providers like Zoom Cars. This move has these advantages:

1. More people will be have the opportunity to drive the car
2. Car will be more visible on the Road
3. It will avoid have the Taxi image issues

Last edited by GTO : 12th September 2015 at 19:19. Reason: Please don't bring up entirely unrelated brands
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Old 10th September 2015, 18:59   #6
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetti View Post
Apart from Taxi sector, I believe car makers should also tap fleet sales to self-drive providers like Zoom Cars. This move has these advantages:

1. More people will be have the opportunity to drive the car
2. Car will be more visible on the Road
3. It will avoid have the Taxi image issues
That's a nice thought for sure. It will make sure that people get chance to drive those cars whenever they want. People can keep the car with them for a day or two and get the real world driving experience for the same. It will help people in buying that vehicle if they really like it.

Currently Zoom has variety of cars like Figo, EcoSport, Honda City, Scorpio, XUV 500, Safari etc. Not sure what is their criteria here for selecting these models. Certainly these are not common taxi vehicles which we generally get like Indica, Innova, Indigo etc. May be they are going by people’s choice here? Means they are trying to provide cars which are spacious & mostly popular and many people wish to drive them. Surely in future manufacturers can think of tapping these guys as this trend of renting cars is certainly going to increase only year on year

Last edited by GTO : 12th September 2015 at 19:19. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 10th September 2015, 19:42   #7
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

So self drive cars are always the ones that sell well and accepted by majority of people

In US, one of the reasons Camry used to outsell Accord for most of the years was the fleet sales. Honda never did that.
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Old 11th September 2015, 01:37   #8
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

All said, IMO, only outdated models or poor sellers actually try to woo the taxi segment. I do not think a single model is launched in India keeping fleet owners in mind - not even MUVs like Lodgy or Enjoy. If we watch closely a very good car like Innova is lapped up by the fleet owners for obvious reasons. In such a case, no one is worried about the taxi image or whatever. Taxi image becomes a deciding factor only for not so great cars like the Indica, Indigo, Verito, Etios, etc. The fact is none of these cars were launched keeping the taxi segment in mind. When the mass market is not very keen on the model, the seller tries to pull in the fleet owners / taxi drivers as a rescue measure. Same is happening for Xcent now. The car is no where close to Hyundai's other cars like i20, Grand i20 or the Creta which is 2-3 times more expensive than the Xcent.

In another case, manufacturers try push outdated models like old Dzire (converted to Dzire Tour), i10, Ritz and old Figo to taxi segment. This is to extract maximum profit. These cars are usually low end variants and have neither comfort features nor safety features. They are well past their break-even points and any car sold is going to give them a lot of returns. Taxi operators are also gaining as they are proven cars with very few niggles. From their perspective they get the cars for a lower price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aniketi View Post
Few of the cars are mainly selling as a taxi only like Innova, Travera, Indica, Indigo CS, Etios, Dzire Tour, etc.
I disagree with Innova here. Innova sells equally well in taxi and private segments and no private buyer is worried about the taxi image - however, when it comes to Etios, every one is concerned about the image.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aniketi View Post
Similarly, Renault plans to launch the seven-seater version of its multi-purpose vehicle Lodgy for the fleet segment next month to make the most of the growing demand.
Not surprising. Doesn't look like the Lodgy is challenging either the Innova or the Ertiga. Now that the mass market has not really welcomed it they way Renault would have wanted, the only way is to sell it to the fleets. Fleet owners will not be too concerned as Lodgy has the same engine as the trusted Logan.
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Old 11th September 2015, 11:40   #9
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vigkey View Post
All said, IMO, only outdated models or poor sellers actually try to woo the taxi segment. I do not think a single model is launched in India keeping fleet owners in mind - not even MUVs like Lodgy or Enjoy. If we watch closely a very good car like Innova is lapped up by the fleet owners for obvious reasons. In such a case, no one is worried about the taxi image or whatever. Taxi image becomes a deciding factor only for not so great cars like the Indica, Indigo, Verito, Etios, etc. The fact is none of these cars were launched keeping the taxi segment in mind. When the mass market is not very keen on the model, the seller tries to pull in the fleet owners / taxi drivers as a rescue measure. Same is happening for Xcent now. The car is no where close to Hyundai's other cars like i20, Grand i20 or the Creta which is 2-3 times more expensive than the Xcent.

In another case, manufacturers try push outdated models like old Dzire (converted to Dzire Tour), i10, Ritz and old Figo to taxi segment. This is to extract maximum profit. These cars are usually low end variants and have neither comfort features nor safety features. They are well past their break-even points and any car sold is going to give them a lot of returns. Taxi operators are also gaining as they are proven cars with very few niggles. From their perspective they get the cars for a lower price.
Sorry but i don't agree with you here. Many people don't even like poor seller car as a taxi. One of my friend was getting Evalia at better rate as a taxi but he said he will prefer Innova over it for no logical reason. I have seen people preferring Innova over Xylo or Dzire over Logan / Verito when in reality Xylo and Verito offeres more space.

Also one other important reason is taxi owners generally don't prefer poor selling models as taxi as they fear about image, cost of servicing, availability of spares etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vigkey View Post
I disagree with Innova here. Innova sells equally well in taxi and private segments and no private buyer is worried about the taxi image - however, when it comes to Etios, every one is concerned about the image.
Innova sells to private users as well, i agree but i am sure the number is very less. May be less than 20%. Out of 10 Innovas i see on road, 8-9 are mainly with yellow plates only. Correct me if wrong.

Last edited by aniketi : 11th September 2015 at 11:42.
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Old 11th September 2015, 14:56   #10
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

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Originally Posted by Vigkey View Post
Innova sells equally well in taxi and private segments and no private buyer is worried about the taxi image - however, when it comes to Etios, every one is concerned about the image.
True. And the reason for that (in my mind) is three-fold,

(1) That in the taxi fleet, Innova is considered one of the more premium taxi. A CEO/CFO is at home in an Innova taxi

(2) Despite the price hike, there is still no competition to it. It has been around for years, people have seen its reliability and experience its comfort in terms of 7 seats etc. first hand. Toyota badge of course helps. Infact the price hike made it more aspirational, probably.

(3) Those captain seats! That was a game changer for Innova in private car market.
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Old 11th September 2015, 15:00   #11
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

Concentrating on fleet taxi space is quite a profitable proposition for car makers. Many car models which did not do well in the private use segment, are selling like hot cakes for commercial use, as such the manufacturers are going for taxi fleet segments in a big way. The reasons for the same can be summed up as follows

1. In the taxi use segment, the manufacturers don't have to spend too much on sprucing up the interiors with likes of customer friendly add ons, such as electrically operated orvms, bluetooth connectivity, steering mounted controls, fog lamps etc. As such the cost of production of such vehicles is less.

2. Also in this segment the prospective customer i.e the taxi operators are least concerned about the additional safety features in the vehicle such as srs air bags, abs, ebd etc. Hence this too saves the car maker from further investments, thus further containing the cost of production.

3. The only thing which the taxi owners and operators demand from the manufacturers is proper service network and spare parts availability, which is quite comfortably provided by the manufacturers.

4. Also as mileage and maintenance of the vehicle are the crux which affects the profits in taxi business, as such the operators mainly consider these two factors only while going in for additions to their fleets, thus encouraging the car makers to go in a big way for the taxi fleet segments in order to reap sure shot dividends.
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Old 12th September 2015, 10:39   #12
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

More modern car makers pushing into the taxi segment is a good thing. Modern and more comfortable cars are available for the passengers. In my home town, till a few years ago, the taxi stand used to be full of aging, semi-maintained Ambys. Traveling in one of those for long distances used to be a torture. Especially when it rains and you have to roll up all the windows, it gets suffocating. Now there are Fiestas, Indicas, Dzires, Etioses and the occasional Vibes. Even the Qualis has been almost completely replaced by Innovas. Traveling in a taxi has now become quite comfortable. With more car makers targeting this segment, maybe one of them may even come up with a direct-to-taxi model.
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Old 12th September 2015, 19:25   #13
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

Quite a catch 22 situation for car makers, isn't it? Best illustrated by Hyundai's Rakesh Srivastava who comments that they are aggressively marketing to the Uber / Ola / Self-drive sector. On the other hand, Anand Mahindra recently said that he's worried about the impact these services will have as they discourage car ownership.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
Interesting, given that in our society, most people try to avoid vehicles which have a taxi image.
I think that's a myth. Every car - from the Dzire to the City to the E-Class - now wears yellow plates. The sales of these cars shoot through the roof month after month.

This myth was born because of models (like the Logan) which only managed sales in the taxi segment.
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Old 12th September 2015, 20:17   #14
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I don't think the growth of shared ownership models like Uber will impact car companies just as yet. Fundamentally most of us own cars which we just don't need for our actual requirements. We always buy bigger and bigger cars despite traffic increasing, buy more feature laden cars when we hardly use most of them etc. Essentially car buying itself is largely an illogical decision. So Uber or no Uber we will continue to buy cars for different reasons. But what these players could do is change the face of public transport for sure.
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Old 13th September 2015, 09:36   #15
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Default Re: Car makers tapping fleet taxi space to push sales

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post



I think that's a myth. Every car - from the Dzire to the City to the E-Class - now wears yellow plates. The sales of these cars shoot through the roof month after month.
.
True, in the Europe, a lot of taxis are Mercedes, Skoda and VW Passats. That does not stop them from being best sellers. It also gives the message that the cars are durable and dependable. (A lot of the minicabs in the UK are second hand Jap cars). Manufacturers also subsidise sales to the Police force since the cars get a lot of visibility
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