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US based Cox Automotive acquires stake in Mahindra First Choice


HDFC has sold its entire stake (4%) in Mahindra First Choice, Mahindra & Mahindra’s pre-owned cars retail chain, while Phi Advisors, which was an initial PE investor has sold a part of its stake (it holds 25-35%) in the same, both for an undisclosed amount, reports Mint.

Cox Automotive, a US based digital marketing company, has acquired a ‘significant strategic stake’ in the company for an undisclosed amount. It owns AutoTrader, an online automotive marketplace and vehicle research platform Kelley Blue Book in the US, while Mahindra First Choice owns the online vehicle evaluation company IndianBlueBook, online wholesale auction website eDiig and third party auto inspection portal Autoinspekt.

Autorisk acquisition: Mahindra First Choice had acquired the business assets of Autorisk Management Services for an undisclosed amount last month, to enhance the inspection capabilities and reach of Mahindra First Choice and Autoinspekt in the country.

In the same month, Ola partnered with the company to provide discounted car maintenance services to drivers on its platform. According to the cab aggregator, drivers would be able to avail these services at 79 First Choice workshops across the country.

Funding and expansion: In March this year, Mahindra First Choice had raised $14.1 million (Rs 94 crore) from Valiant Capital for a 13.36% stake. The report adds that the company expects a revenue of Rs 70 crore this year, up from Rs 44 crore in the last financial year. It has 650 franchise outlets across 300 cities and towns in India and plans to expand to 1,000 outlets over the next 3 years.

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In June last year, we reported that the company had sold 55,000 cars through eDiig in FY14, registering a 50% increase year over year. At that time, the company claimed to have sold 150,000 vehicles through eDiig. An ET report states that the company has sold over 300,000 vehicles through eDiig and 250,000 vehicle inspections through Autoinspekt (as of October 2015).

eCommerce portal: In September, The Mahindra group has launched an ecommerce portal called M2all, where it would sell all Mahindra products and services, starting with bookings for its SUV Mahindra TUV300. The marketplace currently sells bikes, commercial vehicles, spare parts and car accessories and plans to add other manufacturers and sellers of ‘complementary’ products (like helmets, biking gear, accessories etc.) with time.

Automotive alliance: Parent company Mahindra & Mahindra has been increasingly focussing on the digital aspects of transportation. In July, the company joined the Google spearheaded Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), an alliance of vehicle manufacturers and device makers from around the world that aim to bring the Android platform to cars.

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