Traditional car rental companies seem like clear choices to start carsharing companies, and Malaysia is no exception.
In fact, automotive brands are also getting into the picture, as Audi launches its on-demand rental service in Hong Kong last week.
The service, which enables clients to order practically any type of Audi at the touch of a button for short- or long-term use is already live in San Francisco, Munich, and Beijing.
Following a pilot scheme where the company provided a pool of Audis for personal use exclusively for the residents of the “Dragons Range” luxury apartment complex, Audi on Demand is now being offered to the Hong Kong public at large, via two Audi showrooms.
Customers can book the type of Audi they need for as long as they need it via a smartphone app and usage is billed at an all-inclusive hourly rate that factors in the cost of insurance fuel and 24-hour customer service.
Call it “on-demand,” “self-service” or “remote” car rental, this new model automates and decentralizes the car rental process, freeing the rental car from the traditional confines of the rental lot and counter.
In Malaysia, GoCar is leading the buzz in the carsharing space.
Touting itself as an alternative to traditional car rental services and buying a car, it allows you to book, unlock and quickly access a car directly from your smartphone. Last year, GoCar Mobility was acquired by Mayflower Car Rental, a subsidiary of Tan Chong Group.
To add to the excitement, a Korean startup is coming to our shores soon: http://www.socar.my/
Globally, there are interesting players like Turo, Getaround, ZipCar and Car Plus.
Meantime, we speak to GoCar CEO Alan Cheah (picture) about this space.
You recently announced 100 GoCars on the road at over 50 locations, how does this stack up with the other players in terms of numbers and offerings?
Currently we have surpassed 140 Gocars on the road at over 60+ locations with 4 types of cars at your service. As of today, we have the largest self-owned fleet in the car-sharing economy within Malaysia. All our cars are equipped with the Hire and Drive permits.
What are your marketing plans going into 2018, with competition coming into the market?
We have gone through the marketing funnel (awareness, engagement, conversion, and retention) many times, next year’s focus will be drilling down into each layer and refining the current campaigns with data that we collected in 2017.
It’s time to maximise on resources, make sure there are no leakages, and improve effectiveness to our online and offline marketing plans. Even as we speak, my team is on the ground researching on tools, services, and partners able to support us in achieving our marketing goals for 2018.
Also, we have built a strong relationship with the transportation ecosystem and our users in Malaysia.
It’s time to reward those relationships and also our loyal supporters – we started now and that will be a focus in 2018.
It’s no longer about retention, it’s about creating a meaningful and valuable relationship.
Running GoCar for more than a year taught me much about creating a sustainable relationship – it’s not all about pricing, promo codes, and discounts. It’s the sustainable value we create for our users and the ecosystem.
Do you see a marketing platform for advertisers with GoCar?
Definitely, we have GoCars in over 60+ locations with different target audiences and the GoCars are located in prime area with high visibility. Stationary, it becomes a great billboard and when in used, it becomes a moving billboard.
With ridesharing a big deal these days, do you see owning a car a thing of the past soon?
The current transportation ecosystem is developing rapidly. With ridesharing, carsharing, and the light rail transit (LRT, MRT, and KTMB) coming together to contribute their services, I can foresee owning a car will no longer be a priority but an option instead.
It won’t happen so soon yet but it’s definitely coming, as you can see from countries such as Finland.
Prior to GoCar, Alan was the Marketing Director at MaGIC (Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre) responsible for leading and strategising the digital roadmap to create awareness and engagement for MaGIC’s brands, programs, and projects across the ASEAN region.