Uber Technologies Inc. has struck a deal with India's Tata group, adding heft to the California-based ridesharing startup’s effort to unseat local leader Ola, in a market it sees as its biggest after the US and China.
This deal deepens Tata’s involvement with Uber, a company in which it is investor via the Tata Opportunities Fund. It also comes at a time when Uber is making a big push worldwide, with a new $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia, as local marketshare leaders such as Ola in India have raised their own game to keep that edge.
Tata, which makes the ubiquitous Indica hatchback — long the city cab operator’s favourite — and Uber will offer “driver-partners,” as the cab-hailing network provider calls such drivers, “a comprehensive vehicle purchase and ownership solution,” the companies said in a statement on Thursday.
Under the programme, drivers will be able to buy cars from Tata Motors, with financing offered by Tata Capital Financial Services and Tata Motors Finance, while Tata AIG will insure the vehicles. In addition, Tata Business Support Services will provide operational support for drivers wanting to use this new vehicle solutions program.
This is a pan-India initiative, which has been rolled out first in the sourthern city of Hyderabad, where Uber has its national operations centre for India. Over the next one year, the initiative aims to fuel micro-entrepreneurship across India by enabling over 20,000 drivers to start their own business on the Uber platform, according to a company press release.