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Ola launches Lux, a luxury car category in Mumbai

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Cab aggregator Ola has started offering a luxury category of cars called Ola Lux starting with South Mumbai. This will include cars like Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Toyota Fortuner, Honda Accord  and other high end sedans and SUVs, that can be booked for a minimum fare of Rs 200 plus Rs 19/km and Rs 2/minute.

This is not the first time Ola has launched a luxury segment. The company had announced “Ola Luxury” in Bangalore in 2013 at the same price, and in 2014, it announced the expansion of this service to Mumbai with a fleet of Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar cars, priced at Rs 250, in addition to Rs 20/km and 2/minute. However, it’s not clear when this service was shuttered.

Ola mentions that it will expand to other parts of Mumbai soon without giving a clear timeline. The service will sport standard features like WiFi, live tracking, payments using Ola Money etc. Interestingly, Ola’s move comes just 2 months after Uber shuttered its UberBlack service everywhere in India, except Mumbai. We have written to Ola asking which cities it plans to expand to next, and will update the story when we hear back.

Comparison to Uber: Uber plied BLACK cars on a commission basis and charged Rs 200 as minimum fare, in addition to Rs 18/km and as such, Ola’s offerings are relatively more expensive. However, according to an Economic Times report, Uber had dropped its fleet of BMWs, Mercedes’ and Audis in 2014, instead adding Innovas and Corollas for UberBLACK, so Ola has the advantage when it comes to the choice of cars.

Other developments:

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– Last week Ola signed an MoU with Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru to set up an ‘Ola Zone’ at the Bangalore airport. However, earlier today, the Transport Department of Karnataka reportedly seized 60 vehicles near roads connecting to the Bangalore airport and belonging to online cab aggregator Ola and Uber, for not having permits to ply in the city.

– Last month, Ola and Uber suspended surge pricing in Delhi following Delhi government’s announcement that it would take strict action, including impound cabs and cancellation of permits, against those who would flout government rules.

– In February, Ola announced that it planned to launch Ola Auto, with Ola Share and Ola Shuttle in Uttar Pradesh in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UP Government, and would also provide entrepreneurship opportunities to 50,000 men and women over the next 5 years.

– Last month, It launched 5,100 electric rickshaws on its mobile app in partnership with Bhartiya Micro Credit (BMC) across Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad. At the time, the company said that it had plans to expand to small towns and tier III cities in the country.

– In November 2015, Ola had raised Series F funding worth $500 million.

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