Ola in talks with Audi, Mercedes, BMW for subscription-based self-drive service

New Delhi, April 21 (PTI): Homegrown ride-hailing app Ola is in talks with luxury carmakers such as Audi, Mercedes and BMW to launch a subscription-based self-driving service. According to agency reports, Ola is trying to bring a subscription-based model in India, where users can get access to luxury cars for a subscription fee.

The company has also earmarked $500 million as investments for the self-drive service. However, Ola, Audi, Mercedes and BMW did not respond to queries sent in by PTI.

Neither the self-drive service nor the luxury car service is new to Ola. The company has been running a small-scale pilot of self-drive service in Bengaluru currently. It is expected to launch the offering through Ola Fleet Technologies in the next few weeks. Additionally, it also offers customers the option of booking rides in luxury cars through its ‘Lux’ service. It had also partnered with BMW in October 2016 to expand the category.

Such subscription-based self-drive services are available in foreign markets but the high cost of luxury cars in India does not make it viable in a direct-to-customer model. Ola, on the other hand, could tap and untapped market with this model. Its scale of operations across the country would be one of its plus points.

Ola has bigwigs like SoftBank, Tencent Holdings among its investors. It had recently received Rs 650 crore funding from Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal in February this year. Ola had also recently announced that Hyundai and Kia are investing $300 million in the company.

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

Ola has been aggressively ramping up its business as well as its food delivery.