The portal is a brand agnostic online new affordable car marketplace aimed at providing end-to-end services to customers looking forward to buying their cars online. City-based entrepreneur Vignesh Ramakrishnan and fellow motorheads – Arvind Ramanathan, Adithya Jagdish and Srinath Kasturirangan founded CarPal under the banner Thinkbotz E-Commerce.
After completing his engineering degree from Sastra University, Thanjavur, Vignesh took to blogging in 2011. Writing extensively about cars and understanding the nuances of the customers experience seemed to work to his advantage.
A three-year career at Mahindra and Mahindra gave him exposure to the automotive field. In 2014, he decided to quit to start work on auto-related solutions. Car buying hasn’t changed since the 1990s as customers have to visit local showrooms for test drives, negotiate for better prices with multiple dealers and then choose a vehicle.
Vignesh says, “Against this backdrop, CarPal offers test drives at home (to fulfill the touch and feel factor), upfront pre-negotiated prices to reduce the hassle involved in negotiations, more finance and car-trade options and complete transparency with the status of a booking.”
As car options increase, car buyers tend to test drive 4 or 5 different products before finalising on one and visit as many dealerships to get a guarantee of a test drive.
“With CarPal, car buyers can choose vehicles that interest them and request test drives at home where they can analyse ease of parking, involve other stakeholders and test drive on roads they use the most,” explains Vignesh. With the combined advantage of upfront pre-negotiated pricing and a substantial saving, knowing the final price helps buyers in making a better decision about their car. “A downside to offline car buying is the lack of transparency or immediate clarity on status of a booking,” he remarks.
“With CarPal’s customer dashboard and e-mail notifications, buyers get notified on any improvements in their bookings and test drives. The portal works with strategic partnerships with new car dealers, insurers, finance providers and used car dealers to fulfill every other allied support systems around car buying. Cars purchased by buyers would be invoiced by CarPal’s local car dealer partner and is just like a regular car purchase.
The firm has tied up with 11 dealers in Chennai and it also plans to enter Bengaluru by the end of the quarter. The comfort of online booking is catching on as Vignesh tells us, “We had a doctor from Kuwait finalising a new car purchase for his family in Chennai.” He said the company had so far completed 84 deals.