- SOCAR is a car-sharing platform from South Korea that launched in Malaysia in January 2018.
- The platform runs through an app available on both iOS and Android, and allows users to book cars that can be rented by the hour, day, or week. Opening promotional rates range from RM8/hour to Rm25/hour.
- Cars can be picked up from designated zones, or can be delivered to user-determined locations with added cost. All cars come adequately fueled and insured, and feature a keyless entry system.
For Malaysians living in and around the densely populated Klang Valley metro, it seems as though we’re never short on options when it comes to transportation. From self-owned vehicles, to ride-sharing via Uber or Grab, to using public transportation, there’s always a way to get to wherever it is we want to go.
But as of last week, Klang Valley denizens have yet another option when it comes to getting around.
Undaunted by the competition and hoping to make a dent in Malaysian car ownership, South Korean car-sharing platform SOCAR launched their service with a fleet of 240 cars that are now available for rent.
As their first expansion outside their home country of South Korea, SOCAR now offers Klang Valley locals an app-based car-sharing service with options for users to rent a car by the hour, day, or week.
“Malaysians have both the culture and habit of driving,” said Leon Foong, CEO of SOCAR Malaysia. “With 93% of households owning a car, we see that the high penetration of driver’s license and abundant supply of vehicles mean that sharing is the way forward.”
Leon went on to detail the underutilisation of privately owned cars in Malaysia and noted that even with three hours of daily driving over seven days a week, a car was only made use of 12.5% of the time.
“What if you could double that and save up to 50% of the cost of car ownership?” he challenged.
With that, SOCAR has first targeted densely populated areas within the Klang Valley with the aim of helping locals forgo the need to actually own a car without sacrificing the freedom of getting around.
“Most Malaysians need a car because they don’t live near to a transit line and because commute distances are fairly long,” Leon said. “Driving also makes it much easier to make multi-stop trips.”
“We want these Malaysians to have a choice now to drive a variety of vehicles that suit their needs without having to be burdened by the commitments of car-ownership.”
How Does SOCAR Work?
With SOCAR now operational within the Klang Valley, users will be able to book a car of their choosing through the app and rent it by the hour, day, or week, with current promotional rates ranging from RM8/hour to RM25/hour based on the chosen vehicle.
Booked cars can be picked up from designated SOCAR zones located across high-traffic locations such as malls and LRT stops, and then dropped back at a designated parking zone after the booking period has expired.
“We have strategically chosen our locations so that members don’t have to go out of their way to access a car,” Leon explained. “That is why we have selected locations near KL Sentral, shopping malls and offices in KLCC and Midvalley and key residential areas in Mont Kiara and near densely populated areas in Cyberjaya.
“Our aim is to ensure that members in our target areas are never more than a few hundred metres away from a SOCAR zone.”
For those unable to make it to the designated zones, SOCAR also provides a D2D (door-to-door) service whereby booked cars are dropped off at a location of the user’s choosing with an added charge of RM5.
All cars come adequately fuelled and insured to provide users with peace of mind, and feature a keyless entry system that uses wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to access key controls and telematics of the vehicle.
Optimistic Despite The Competition
While the concept of a car-sharing service isn’t yet commonplace among Malaysians, it’s worth noting that SOCAR isn’t the first to implement such a platform on Malaysian soil, with GoCar and Kwikcar already offering a similar service to locals.
But Leon isn’t too worried about SOCAR’s prospects.
“As mentioned earlier, over 90% of Malaysian households still own a private car,” he said. “That to me is a massive opportunity and suggests that the market for sharing is far from saturated.”
“In fact, I would say car-sharing penetration and awareness is still in its infancy.”
He also went on to detail the value proposition that SOCAR offers—the chance to drive to and from work in a well maintained vehicle everyday while still paying less than the cost of monthly instalments, petrol, car insurance, and parking combined.
“So to everyone, I suggest they download the SOCAR Malaysia app for themselves to see whether it’s something they enjoy.”
A Matter Of Convenience
As for the future, Leon hopes for SOCAR to educate and alter the perceptions of the public in respects to car-sharing.
“For now, our primary goal is to educate Malaysians on the benefits of car-sharing and the added convenience and savings that comes with participating in the sharing economy,” he said.
“Our key objective will be to drive awareness by letting Malaysians experience the product and also to extend reach to areas which are underserved by public transportation.”
“We look forward to leveraging our data and technology to partner with public institutions and authorities to give Malaysians more affordable transportation options.”
On what he would like for SOCAR to become, Leon said that he would consider it a success if the SOCAR brand could manage to occupy consumer mind share enough to become a household name in Malaysia.
“It would be a milestone when SOCAR starts becoming part of our daily colloquial language,” he said.
“When you hear your friends start saying ‘I’ll SOCAR there’, that would be rather significant for us.”
- For more information on SOCAR, check out their website.
- The service is available on both iOS and Android.
Feature Image Credit: SOCAR Malaysia