CAR Inc has already begun a trial of its P2P rental platform “CAR Share” that offers a wide range of cars for rental, from luxury Mercedes Benz and BMW models to corporate and economy type vehicles.
Positioned as a car rental and car sharing mobile and online platform, CAR Share has a vehicle pool comprising privately owned cars as well as vehicles from a range of small- and medium-sized car rental companies.
As CAR Inc is diving headlong into CAR Share, it underscores the questions of what the service means for CAR Inc and what impact it has for other P2P startups.
CAR Inc promotes P2P+Carpool as auxiliary services
Car Inc unveiled its “UCar” chauffeur service in 60 Chinese cities last January， marking its entry into the online chauffeur service segment. After adding the chauffeur service to its rental operation，its next step is to use P2P rental as a portal for the mobile trips market.
“Our policy is to have two main operations and two auxiliary operations,” said CAR Inc CEO Zhengyao Lu. “Car rental and chauffeur service will be our two main operations and P2P car rental and carpooling will be our two auxiliary services. We will release these products step by step and CAR Inc will develop into something very different from traditional car rental.”
Mr. Lu also emphasized that Car Inc will not use a strict P2P business model because of its low profitability. Instead, it will leverage its brand power, technology, internet and experienced management to complement its P2P rental.
Major players slice into emerging P2P car rental segment
Singapore-based P2P car rental iCarsclub entered the Chinese market when it registered PPzuche in Beijing in 2012 and has subsequently raised funding in its Series B financing. It is jostling with an increasing number of startups in the P2P car rental segment that has attracted companies such as Baojia, atzuche and UUzuche with significant financial backing.
Besides these startups, major industry players are beginning to turn their attention to the segment.
CAR Inc announced last January that it would enter the P2P rental segment in March while rival eHi Car Services said it hoped to add a backup service by expanding its service scope to include P2P rental.
The entry of major players could trigger exponential growth for the segment and will definitely affect existing startups. PPzuche founder Jiaming Wang said: “The entry of car rentals validates the viability of this new market segment and the business model that all players can further explore.”(Translation by David)