Uber signs MoU with Maruti after Ola's deal with Mahindras

Cab aggregator Uber India is teaming up with the country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd to train 30,000 drivers in the next three years, as part of its plan to bring a million skilled driver partners on its platform.

Maruti Suzuki Ltd will sign a memorandum of understanding with Uber Technologies to train 30,000 drivers in the next three years.

Under the proposed 'Uber Shaan' initiative, the company is targeting to increase the number of active driver partners on its platform five-fold to 1,000,000 drivers every month.

Uber currently has 400,000 driver partners, around half of them being active partners every month.

As part of the tie-up, Uber and Maruti Suzuki will conduct a four-month pilot and organise driver training and on-boarding programmes, which is required to join the Uber platform.

On completion of training and receipt of a commercial licence, Uber will support the journey of successful candidates by offering vehicle financing and leasing solutions.

Based on learnings from the pilot, the partnership will be expanded to other Indian cities.

Uber, after freeing cash from its China operations with a sale to China's Didi Chuxing Technology, has identified India as the next battleground (See: Uber to sell China subsidiary to rival Didi in $35 bn deal). The Economic Times reported, quoting sources "Uber has around 200,000 active driver partners on their platform currently and they want to increase this to a million by 2018. They are beginning with this pilot with Maruti Suzuki and will extend this going ahead", said an executive close to the development.

To begin with, Maruti Suzuki will assess and train 30,000 commercial drivers for Uber over the next three years.

The pilot phase will be rolled out in Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi-NCR and the programme will be introduced thereafter in Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune.

Maruti Suzuki has 370 driving schools and six Institutes of Driving and Traffic Research.

"The initiative is aimed at providing aspiring commercial drivers with micro-entrepreneurship opportunities and equipping them with necessary skill to operate on the Uber platform. We expect to train 30,000 drivers under this programme", said Mahesh Rajoria, assistant vice-president, driving and training, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL).

Besides, training drivers through a specialised module at Maruti Suzuki's driving schools, Uber is also forging an alliance with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to impart among others soft skills at its in-house centres across 28 cities to its existing driver partners.

The move comes even as rival Ola tied up with homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra last week in a new vehicle financing deal to draw in more drivers by offering attractive vehicle financing.

Ola has previously announced to add 100,000 drivers to its existing base of 450,000 partners by the end of December.