Car-care biz opportunity
Neha Gohil (NG): Shed some light on the inception of MyTVS
With two core values of relationship and trust, and an objective to offer post-warranty car customers a well-focused no-frills service solution, MyTVS was lunched. Ramesh Kharbanda, Chief Operating Officer, TVS Automobile Solutions, shares the origin, growth and success of the company in an interview.
Neha Gohil (NG): Shed some light on the inception of MyTVS?
Ramesh Kharbanda (RK): MyTVS was established in 2003 as a business unit of TVS & Sons. It was a strategic move by the parent group for the following reasons:
- First mover advantage in the multi-brand car-service market in India
- Entry into growing car-parts business
- Brand advantage and customer connect at retail level
MyTVS brand was formed with two core values -- relationship and trust, with an objective to offer post-warranty car customers a well-focused no-frills service solution. The brand itself was formed with ‘My’, signifying the closest of any relationship (My Car, My Family, etc.,), and TVS, a word synonymous with Trust. In the year 2011, the ‘MyTVS’ business was hived off as a separate company - TVS Automobile Solutions Ltd.
NG: What is the USP of MyTVS?
RK: The multi-brand initiative in a way represents a converging point of TVS experience in related businesses, such as car servicing, spare parts, etc. It is TVS expertise and quality at an affordable price for all cars under one roof bringing convenience to customers. In short, value for money for customers. The key aspect is the TVS brand name and service quality at affordable pricing. The business is backed by a very large business group.
NG: Why and when did you take up the franchise route for expansion?
RK: We undertook the franchise route to make TVS Quality Services available to customers across the country in a short time, quick ramp-up of network, higher visibility to the brand, encouraging entrepreneurship in the society, and bring in localized thought process/action. Based on our experience, we have made the franchise program much more powerful and remunerative for the franchisee.
NG: How has franchising helped the brand so far in achieving its target?
RK: We have developed a network of 47 franchisees all over South (majorly in TN and Kerala). We would be expanding fast pan-India now. Franchising has helped us reach new markets and enhance visibility.
NG: Tell us about your brand’s presence. How many of your stores are franchised or company-owned?
RK: We now have our presence in 38 cities across the nation through a network of 47 franchised and 19 owned outlets.
NG: What are your company’s expansion plans? Which cities are you targeting for expansion?
RK: We are looking to expand all across the nation. We have ambitious plans and are open to tier II and III cities in addition to tier 1
NG: How much area and investment will a franchisee require?
RK: To become a franchisee, total area requirement is anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 sq. ft, and an investment in the range of Rs 50 -75 lakh.
NG: What are the major challenges that franchisee faces while operating a franchise of your brand? What solutions do you offer?
RK: Our model is based on partnership with franchisee and we extend all possible support from set up, identification and sourcing of equipment, various SOPs, operations, training, supply chain, marketing and business development, etc. We support franchisees in overcoming various challenges in this business. We have a well-developed training team, and our own training academy is effectively used for imparting technical training. We have a well-developed supply chain which supports franchisees in sourcing spare parts. We have an in-house expertise on operations to guide franchisees on SOPs and for managing operations effectively. We have a strong infra-team to extend support during set up stage and so on.
NG: What can you say about the future in this field? Is this sector promising for entrepreneurs?
RK: This sector is quite promising. There is already a demand-supply gap which exists in this sector. The gap is likely to be widened in future necessitating capacity expansion. The passenger car market is changing rapidly with cars becoming more hi-tech and sophisticated, calling for more skilled manpower than dependence on road-side garages. Households have multiple cars of multiple brands. Growth outside metros is being witnessed in this sector. Average age of ownership of car has come down and the demographic profile of Indian consumers is supportive of this change. The car-service market is expected to grow at 15-17 per cent for the next three years. Thus, I think it is a good potential sector for entrepreneurs, and the overall future is promising.
NG: What are your expectations from the franchisees in terms of educational and professional background?
RK: Positive attitude and entrepreneurship drive would be some of the soft skills which we would be looking at before making the selection. We are open on the candidature, subject to adequate financial capability. However, having own location in desirable markets and past experience in the industry will be preferable prerequisite, though not mandatory.
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