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Uber Rival Ola to Announce Partnership With One of India’s Biggest Automakers

September 7, 2016

Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal PortraitsOla CEO Bhavish Aggarwal Portraits
The app of Indian ride-hailing service Ola, owned by ANI Technologies Pvt., is displayed in Bengaluru, India, on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Namas Bhojani — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Indian ride-hailing firm Ola and the country’s top utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra are set to announce a joint initiative on Thursday, according to an invitation sent to the media.

The move will come close on the heels of a string of tie-ups between online taxi services and automakers, keen to cash in on the rising demand and popularity of these services.

Mahindra is likely to offer leasing of cars, financing, and auto insurance to Ola as part of the deal, CNBC TV 18 reported on Wednesday.

Ola and Mahindra declined to comment on the specifics of the initiative.

Ola and global rival Uber have burned through money to capture market share in India, one of the world’s fastest growing taxi markets worth nearly $12 billion. Last year, Uber pledged to invest $1 billion into its operations in India, where its stiffest competition comes from local rival Ola. Shortly after, Uber announced it had received $100 million in funding from Tata Opportunity Fund. Last month, Tata Motors’s parent Tata Group, became the first Indian carmaker to tie-up with Uber.

Meanwhile, Ola has partnered Nissan Motor India to buy and lend cars to its drivers.

Competition between the two ride-hailing firms has heated up as Uber has increased its investment in the country. In March, Uber filed a lawsuit against Ola, accusing the company of creating 90,000 fake Uber accounts and making false bookings to interfere with its business.

The potential tie-up between Ola and Mahindra follows a spate of similar partnerships between major automakers and ride-hailing companies.

Overseas, General Motors in January announced a $500 million investment in Lyft, with plans down the road to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars.

In May, Toyota also laid out plans to invest in Uber to create flexible vehicle leasing terms, while the ride-hailing service has also entered into a $300 million deal with the Volvo Car Group to develop self-driving cars.

Europe’s largest automaker Volkswagen has also announced a $300 million investment in Gett aimed at car sharing, limousine rides and taxi services.