Automobiles have evolved from being a luxury to a necessity today. With increased disposable incomes, people are ready to spend on this necessity. This has led to the present high stature of the automobile industry. However, many prospective automobile buyers cannot fulfill the dream due to the high cost of brand new automobiles and sky-scraping interest rates. Therefore, a pre-owned car can be more practical in such situations. Nevertheless, due to the industry’s unorganized players, buying a pre-owned car or a scooter can prove to be a dicey decision.
However, with the entry of organized players and the assurance given by them about the automobiles’ condition, buying a pre-owned automobile is no more a bad choice. Some of the organized brands in the pre-owned automobile market include Mahindra and Maruti. Considering the growing demand for pre-owned cars, players in the industry have opted for the franchise route. This has added yet another segment in the automotive franchise industry. Franchising is the best way forward to expand and make available this wonderful opportunity to every nook and corner of the nation. As Jagdish Khattar, Chairman and Managing Director, Carnation Auto says, “We propose to pursue the franchise model, as it will give a wider spread to our network and help in building our brand.”This article discusses the franchise opportunity in this emerging industry and the various players in the sector.
Automobile franchise concept
The market for pre-owned cars in India is dominated by unorganized players, with only 20 percent is contributed by the organized players. The size of the pre-owned car market is estimated to be the same as that of new cars, which are around two million vehicles per annum. The market is speculated to grow at 20 percent per annum in the next five years. As per Yatin Chaddha, VP, Mahindra FirstChoice, “The industry’s current size is approximately 2.2 million vehicles per year, that is, the same as the new car market. Owing to the booming economy and rising incomes of people, the pre-owned car industry is expected to grow exponentially.”
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With the entry of companies like Mahindra FirstChoice, Popular Car World, Maruti True Value, Carnation, and many more, the sector is poised to grow aggressively. Few of these companies (Mahindra FirstChoice and Popular Car World) are successfully exercising the franchise model to expand their presence across the nation. The others (Maruti True Value and Carnation) are focusing on franchising their businesses to spread across the nation’s length and breadth shortly. As Chaddha says, “Franchising is a good option to enter the booming business of pre-owned cars.”
Entering the pre-owned cars market
Most of the organized players in this domain have ventured into the pre-owned car retailing with the mission and vision of providing the consumers with a wide choice, to make it professionally organized by bringing transparency, quality, and trust. Supporting this, Chaddha says, “A customer looking for a pre-owned car was not given a choice of cars, could not be sure of the technical condition of the car being shown to him, could not check the background or legality of the previous owner and did not have the benefit of dealing with an organized, national-level player. It was this need-gap which led to the inception of Mahindra FirstChoice.” Whereas Maruti True Value channelizes its expertise to ensure transparency and fairness on its transactions in pre-owned cars, which helps extend its relationship and emotional connect with the customers.
With the various players’ endeavors, the sector offers immense growth potential not just for the franchisors but for the entrepreneurs as well who aspires to be a part of this emerging sector. As Chaddha says, “Owing to their knowledge of local conditions, franchisees can greatly help in areas like personal involvement, sales promotion, manpower planning, and retention, etc.” If you are also weighing your options to enter this promising industry, franchising is the best option to start with your own business of pre-owned cars. All you need to have is a sound financial background to afford an investment that ranges from Rs 20 lakh to three crores depending upon the outlet’s area. Mahindra FirstChoice requires an area of 500- 1, 000 sq. ft along with a parking space of 15- 20 cars for its franchise store, whereas, for its superstores, the company requires an area of 25, 000 – 40, 000 sq. ft with an investment of Rs one to three crore. However, the eligibility criteria for selecting the automobile franchisees differ from company to company.
If you fulfill the eligibility criteria of joining hands with a well-established brand, you qualify to enjoy a strong training culture and support required to run the franchise store as per company designed processes. Being a new automotive franchise in the network, you will be provided with:
• Store layout, interiors, furniture, etc
• Management of the franchise outlet and the dealership staff
• Understanding demand/ supply situation in second-hand cars
• Car evaluation and procurement process
• Payment process for cars being procured
• Car refurbishment process
• Payment collection for cars being sold
• Sale agreement with a customer
• Transfer of car documentation and so on
To summarise, the industry for pre-owned cars is flourishing, taking major steps in introducing warranty or certifications on second-hand cars. Thus, bringing in credibility and transparency in the highly unorganized market of pre-owned cars.