Are we about to be ‘Uberized’?

  04 April 2016

Over the last six months I’ve used the Uber ride-sharing app in three different world cities: Jaipur, Melbourne and Las Vegas. I’ll admit, I’m a convert.

Why? There are lots of reasons but I’ll give you just three. I can order a taxi any time of the day or night, without having to go through a third party such as a hotel concierge or mini-cab controller; it’s significantly cheaper than a traditional cab; and I know what it’s going to cost without having to worry about tips or hidden extras, such as luggage charges.

Perhaps most significantly, now I’ve used Uber would I go back to traditional cab booking? No thanks.

At the NADA Convention in Las Vegas this past week, Uber was cited as just one example of a web-enabled start up that has totally disrupted a traditional market. They even have a word for it: Uberization (spelt with a zee, of course).

Dave Zuchowski, CEO of Hyundai America, warned his retailers to learn from the low cost, flat structure, customer transparent business models of the start-ups – while building on their traditional strengths of loyal customers and strong local brand.

Could Uberization happen here? There are still some who believe it won’t; that the current auto retailing business model is safe from disrupion. Try telling that to the cab drivers lined up outside Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

For a full report from NADA 2016, see next week’s Auto Retail Bulletin.

Rupert Saunders

Managing Director

Auto Retail Network

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