UCAR VP Long Jie talked on Friday at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing about his vision for the premium car industry. Unlicensed taxis that operate in China are usually neither safe nor inexpensive, but they are quite rampant in the country due to great transport demand. Long believes standardized premium car services present an efficient alternative.
“Last October, the Ministry of Transport discussed the legitimacy of premium cars in China,” said Long. “We’re glad this is happening and we welcome a regulated industry.”
Long compared premium cars with company cars. He said that a company car can be fairly expensive because, other than the cost of purchasing the car, there are the costs involved in hiring a driver, buying insurance and other extras like maintenance fees. All this should also be taken into consideration in addition to the fact that company cars can sometimes be highly inefficient because of low usage/high vacancy rates.
“For example, in terms of airport pickups, a company car may only run four round trips per day, with half that time being empty,” said Long. “But a premium car can accomplish eight to 15 rounds per day, and it’s only an app request away.”
According to Long, UCAR holds a 29% stake in the car rental company CAR Incorporation. With cars provided by CAR and 50,000 drivers recruited by UCAR itself, standardized services are provided for businesspeople and urban travelers. This standardization can be seen through UCAR drivers playing specific music pieces, wearing the same suits, and even using the same perfume or cologne.
Founded in January 2015, UCAR has served 30 million people and covers 66 cities in China, with its full-time drivers all having over three years’ driving experience. The company is now valued at RMB 30 billion (USD 4.6 billion).
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