Uber and Grab have been battling it out to be the top ride-sharing service provider in the region for years now. Well, the competition’s now gone into overdrive with South Korean car-sharing startup SOCAR officially launched in Malaysia. The tech startup aims to bridge a perceived gap with its on-demand car-sharing model.
Launched in 2011, SOCAR today operates approximately 9,000 cars throughout South Korea, where it serves more than 3 million users. The success of the business model has encouraged the company to expand into Malaysia, its first foray beyond South Korea.
Unlike Uber and Grab, SOCAR is a car-sharing platform, allowing users to book a car of their choice through its app, paying for it on an hourly basis. Cars can be picked up from SOCAR zones, which are high foot-traffic areas such as shopping malls, LRT or MRT stations. Alternatively, users are also provided the option of having the car delivered directly to them, for a small fee of RM5. All cars feature a keyless system that allows users to start the car via the SOCAR app.
The Korean company kicks off in Malaysia with a fleet of 240 vehicles in the Klang Valley. Currently, only four car models are available, featuring varying hourly rates – Perodua Axia from RM8, Honda City from RM9.90, Honda HR-V from RM18.90 and Mini Cooper from RM25. Thankfully, SOCAR provides 30km of complimentary mileage per hour, with a daily cap of 300km.
Speaking to the media at the launch ceremony, SOCAR Malaysia CEO, Leon Foong highlighted that the startup is focusing phase one of its launch on densely populated areas rather than ensuring large areas of coverage across the city. “The key part of the launch strategy is to ensure convenience for anyone who wants a car, so they don’t have to walk more than 400 metres to get one,” he said.
Leon was also quick to point out that SOCAR makes ‘car-less driving’ a reality. “In Malaysia, one of the main reasons of bankruptcy is outstanding balance on car loans. With car-sharing applications like SOCAR, people can now enjoy the benefits of owning a car without the pressing financial burden of a car loan.”
At present, SOCAR Zones can be found in Bangsar, Mont Kiara, Bangsar South, Sri Hartamas and Cyberjaya. SOCAR Malaysia has plans to grow its fleet to 1000 cars by the end of the year, with the company looking to expand further into Malaysia by year end.
Do you see yourself utilising SOCAR some time soon?
For additional details on how SOCAR works,please visit SOCAR’s official website.