Leading self-drive car rental company Selfdrive. In is set to enter the UAE with a fleet of 1,500 cars by early January with an investment of around 5 million dirhams (Rs 9.32 crore). The entry into the nearly 1 billion dirhams UAE car rental market will make the Pune-based company the first domestic player to go international, its founder Soham Shah told PTI. He also said the UAE car rental market is dominated by American players like Avis, and there is not a single Asian company operating in this space. "We will start with 1,500 cars in Dubai by January and all the cars will be on lease. The second stage in a year or two will have the number of cars on the platter doubling to 3,000," Shah said, adding, he got commercial licence to begin operations early this month. The second phase will see expansion into Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and the other three emirates.
He will be investing around 5 million dirhams to begin with and expects to have a revenue of 20 million dirhams. Shah said he hopes to be the third largest player after Avis and the European company Hertz. He said unlike in the domestic market, where it is present in Pune, Mumbai and Goa and owns 20 per cent of its 650 cars, in UAE it will be a completely asset-light model. On staff strength, he said it will have around 10 people to begin with, which will go up to 45 by the end of first year of operations. On the commercial side, he said the company will be charging 2-25 per cent from a sedan while the same will be 30-35 per cent of the billed amount for a luxury sedan. He justified the higher commission, saying all the responsibility towards the customer will be the company's. Regarding domestic operations, Shah said he will entering Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad by the first quarter of next year. Bengaluru and Delhi will be in the first leg, with the rest of the cities in the second phase. Asked about the bottomline of his business, he claimed the company is already cash positive and hopes to continue to have a strong bottomline in the new cities it plans to enter as well. On fund raising plans, Shah said the company, fully owned by him and his family, is adequately capitalised and has no plans to divest stake. Shah started Selfdrive. In in 2010.
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