121Cars, Regarded For Affordability, Credibility, And Excellent Customer Support
The Indian pre-owned car market story is highly compelling, with an expected size of US$35 billion and 4 million or more units sold in 2021–2022. Several market studies predict that this market will expand at an astounding pace of between 15%–20% CAGR for at least the next five years.
Yet, organised used automobile companies only hold a small portion of the used car market share, leaving a huge gap for value-based solution providers in the market to meet the ever-growing demand. One of the pioneering names in this space, 121 CARS, thrives as a one-stop destination for used as well as new cars, serving its customers all over India.
Having commenced its operations in September 2021, the start-up has been able to create a niche for itself in this short duration through its customer-centric approach and quality products, not to mention the team’s remarkable role in revolutionising the panorama of an e-marketplace for buying and selling used cars.
Having a reputation as a unique marketplace for cars to its clients, 121 CARS operates across C2C, B2C as well as B2B platforms and stands at the top of the metaphorical ladder, having carved a niche for itself in the C2C platform. The company additionally serves its new car consumer segment through its nationwide network of more than 200 (and expanding) new car dealers of various manufacturers.
The advantages of buying a new car through 121 CARS are more choice options at competitive prices, better deals, and quick availability of desired models. With its headquarters in Gurugram, 121 CARS currently has offices in four locations, including Chandigarh, Delhi, Noida, and Faridabad. They are in the process of expansion of their network to 17 major cities across India in the next 12-18 months.
With a focus on all market sectors, from affordable vehicles to ultra-luxury vehicles, 121CARS has built an impressive list of clients over the years. It enjoys healthy patronage, especially from the corporate sector, banking & financial institutions, professionals, HNI’s & business communities.
THE MAN BEHIND THE IDEA ACHINT CHAUDHARY
Achint Chaudhary, the founder and CEO of 121 CARS, holds over 20 years of experience working with top automotive brands like Tata Motors, Audi, and BMW. He managed leadership responsibilities in international markets like Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and India after earning his B.Tech. in mechanical engineering and his M.Sc. in international business from the University of Edinburgh Napier.
He left his corporate job to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. In 2019, he launched his first business, an aggregator model for the re-export of cars from the United Arab Emirates to international markets, including China, the Middle East, and Africa. Based on the success of his first business and realising an opening in the Indian market for used cars, he launched 121 CARS in March 2021.
THE TALE OF INCEPTION – HOW IT ALL BEGUN?
The Company CEO, Achint Chaudhary, recalls how his experience buying a used car a few years back in New Delhi
turned into an ordeal. Despite numerous options for used car dealers, online platforms, listing portals etc., finding a goodcondition used car at a reasonable price is futile. On several online platforms, car dealers pose as car owners, trying to trick the buyers by selling tempered/ refurbished cars as ‘original condition’ cars.
Realising a massive void in such a crowded yet unorganised and shady used car space, the visionary leader conceptualised a valuebased solution to disrupt the market. At 121 CARS, the core values of Genuine & Certified Products, Transparency, and Customer First are at the centre of all our business policies & decisions.
DISTINCTIVE ADVANTAGES THAT MAKE 121CARS STANDS OUT
Their unique C2C platform and ‘quality over quantity’ gives 121CARS a tremendous competitive edge. They also intend to roll out a few additional innovations in the near future to upend the Indian used automobile sector. Their low-cost business style is another key benefit.
The auto industry requires a lot of money and carries significant risks due to the high overhead costs for working capital and infrastructure. Their company model is significantly simpler, making it easier for them to quickly respond to market turmoil.
IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS
Being a late entrant in the market definitely has its challenges, but also some advantages. They got benefitted from analysing business models, platforms, and technologies of existing companies and, more importantly, their limitations.
Implying these learnings, the team managed to roll out the platform in the market at an ultra-low cost while using the latest and sustainable technologies. They can increase business operations efficiency by utilising the most recent AI tools for tasks like a car inspection, evaluation, pricing positioning, consumer market analysis, CRM & Lead Management, etc.
QUALITY CHECK AT 121CARS -THEIR MOTTO IS ‘ONLY THE BEST’
Since quality is 121 CARS’ primary point of differentiation, they adhere to strict procedures and standards to guarantee the best quality of their goods and services. For instance, each car offered for sale on the marketplace is put through a thorough, threelayer examination process.
1. 75-point physical inspection to ensure the car is in a vital condition, free of any significant repairs and non accidental, any tempering with odometer reading or the vehicle’s physical condition, etc.
2. Vehicle background check, including service history, insurance claims or hidden repairs, tempering of records, etc.
3. Legal check for any police case, challans or financial obligations, the authenticity of documents etc.
A dedicated back-end team ensures the customers get only the best products and pre-sales and post-sales service. Just for statistics, owing to their quality focus, they have a very thin procurement ratio of only 14% on the C2C platform. Which means that of 100 cars that we inspect, on average, 86 cars get rejected as they do not meet the stringent quality checks, and only 14 cars get listed on our portal. For them, it is quality over quantity.
THE CORPORATE ETHOS FOR CLIENTS
Their transparent and value-based business model returns a very high loyalty from the customers. Especially customers who have sold or purchased their cars through their C2C platform vouch for its unique advantages thereof. They achieve exceptionally favourable client retention and referral rates. More than 20% of all transactions during the most recent quarter involved returning customers or client recommendations. It is encouraging and overwhelming to see the customers patronise you exclusively.
THE UNIQUE MARKETING APPROACH
On being asked about their unique marketing strategies, the inspiring leader Achint Chaudhary apprised, “We are a young startup in the establishment phase, and careful of not biting more than we can chew. As our organic business traffic is keeping is busy at the moment, we are focusing on growing the network and resources before we can be ready to go all out.”
FROM THE CEO’S DESK
Our ‘Consumer to Consumer’ platform has been an instant success with our customers, particularly with the corporate segment, and has provided us with a solid footing in a crowded pre-owned car market. Though B2B & B2C channels have advantages like higher volumes and better margins, our strategy was clear to start with a top-down approach, creating a customer base with a niche clientele.
Our unique C2C platform helps our customers buy or sell used cars in a safe and transparent environment directly from/ to the end user, all from the comfort of their homes. Not only do our customers benefit from the top-quality certified cars sourced directly from respective vehicle owners, but they also enjoy a price advantage of at least 7%-8% when compared to market/ dealer prices. Necessary documentation for vehicle ownership transfer, finance, etc., is taken care of by our dedicated back-end team to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transaction for our customers.”
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