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Ola in talks with luxury carmakers Audi, BMW for self-drive subscription services

April 22, 2019 05:25 AM

COURTESY HT APRIL 22

Ola in talks with luxury carmakers Audi, BMW for self-drive subscription services
OLA HAS BEEN RUNNING A SMALL-SCALE PILOT OF THE SELF-DRIVE SERVICE IN BENGALURU, AND MAY LAUNCH IT IN A NEXT FEW WEEKS

NEWDELHI: Ride-hailing platform Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) is in discussions with luxury carmakers, including Audi, Mercedes and BMW, to launch a subscription-based service under its self-drive offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ola has been running a smallscale pilot of the self-drive service in Bengaluru currently, and is expected to launch the offering in the next few weeks through Ola Fleet Technologies.

The company is also believed to have earmarked an investment of up to $500 million (including debt) for the selfdrive service.

According to the people privy to the development, the company is in talks with carmakers like Audi, Mercedes and BMW to bring to India a model where users can get access to luxury cars by paying a subscription fee.

Email queries sent to Ola, Audi, Mercedes and BMW did not elicit any response.

One of the persons said the format is available in developed markets like the US, but given the high cost of luxury vehicles in India, a direct-to-customer model may not be not feasible in the country.

The person added that Ola sees a lot of potential in bringing this model to India given its scale of operations across multiple categories and cities.

Ola already allows customers to book rides in luxury cars through its “Lux” offering. In October 2016, the Bengalurubased company had partnered with BMW for expanding the category.

The company, which competes with the Us-based Uber in India and international markets like Australia, has been aggressively ramping up its rides business as well as food delivery operations (through Foodpanda).

It had recently announced that Hyundai and Kia are investing $300 million in the company.

Ola, which counts names like Softbank Group and China’s Tencent Holdings among its investors, had received ₹650 crore funding from Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal in February this year.

Ola’s electric mobility arm Ola Electric Mobility has also raised ₹400 crore from Tiger Global, Matrix India and others.

 

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