One-stop multi solution hubs catering to ALL automobile related needs ! Brought to you by the ‘Maruti man’ Jagdish Khattar. Just what the doctor ordered.
Cut back to almost 2 decades ago when it used to be another world. I was a champ then and my driving made a tough nut out of me. My first car was my father’s battered fiat and I would do regular rounds of South Delhi mechanics to get all conceivable mechanical errors fixed in that contraption. A bonnet cover that would come off to dirt in the carburetor to a leaking coolant tank to engine overhaul to getting ‘local’ batteries – I may have been the rare odd woman who didn’t mind going into the filthy bylanes to find the elusive ‘good’ mechanic who didn’t charge the earth. The cars changed and so did the quantity and quality of encounters with the never changing ‘mechanics’ and ‘workshops’ !!
Meanwhile automobiles grew by leaps and bounds but the solutions remained the same. Though, an year ago I read about a multi-brand automobile service station and accessories concept in Jamnagar, Gujrat called Autozone by who else but Reliance. A place where besides getting any make of your car fixed, you could also jazz it up with stuff like power windows to base models, seat covers, AV systems, customized painting, SAP R3 software to record and track your vehicle ownership life cycle and the works. Reliance had plans to open 400 Autozone outlets in 3 years ! An year since I’ve not heard a whisper about that concept again.
Except that today I read the press announcement of Carnation Auto, India’s ‘First’ multibrand auto service & accessories chain by Jagdish Khattar ! His debut venture, Carnation Auto India Ltd is backed by Rs 80 crore from PremjiInvest and Rs 28 crore from IFCI Venture Capital Funds, both adding to 25 % stake in the company. Khattar plans to invest a total of 1000 crores in 5 years in this venture. Very Cool ! Obviosuly he has the whiff of the chaotic ( Nanotic?) times to come.
Carnation Auto plans to launch a pan-India service and sales network at 100 locations in 65 cities over the next 5 years. To begin with there will be 6 outlets in NCR, Hyderabad and Cochin, and 30 by the next year. Khattar already has 3 locations in his bonnet and will be developing them to make them operational. He plans to develop one-stop auto solution hubs catering to all automobile related needs including maintenance, insurance, CNG/LPG retrofitment, accessories of different brands of cars under one roof besides an automotive training institute to develop and train “support staff “. You better drop ‘mechanic’ from your vocabulary pretty soon 🙂
Khattar is currently talking to leading automobile players for strategic partnerships to provide service backup.
Smartly, he also has in his kitty a real estate company called Carnation Realty, for developing real estate ( by buying land) and leasing it back to the parent company.
Way to go, Automobile Retail !