All the talk about millennials shunning car ownership in favour of the Ubers and Lyfts of the world may be misplaced.
At least that’s the bet being made by Jon Alain Guzik, the founder of Prazo, a new car-leasing app that’s launching next year.
It’s based on the notion that twenty-somethings still want to drive, and they still want to have their own cars, Guzik said in a conversation with Business Insider.
Prazo aims to be the go-to place for all things transportation — with ambitious plans to lease cars through smartphones and also offer a host of other services all for the cost of a typical car lease.
“For example, if your car needs a service, we’ll pick it up, take it to the dealer, and return it to you when it’s done,” Guzik said. “We’re trying to be the Amazon Prime of cars.”
Guzik also started RideApart, which is part of BI’s contributor network.
Prazo targets the car-leasing market exclusively, a segment where millennials accounted for some 30% of the $17 billion market this year.
And for that 20-to-30-something demographic, Prazo’s 2-year commitment to a new-car lease mirrors the model of upgrading to a new smartphone.
From the start, every contact between the user and the company will be through the app. Guzik cites millennials’ heavy reliance on mobile devices — more than 45% of whom use them exclusively — to explain that model.
Prazo’s planning to open for business early next year with one vehicle: the 2016 Ford C-Max — a 5-door hybrid that will be customised by Prazo’s dealer-partner, the Los Angeles-based Galpin Motors.
More vehicle choices will roll out later.
The C-Max will be painted ruby red and come with roof racks and tinted windows as standard equipment.
“We want it to look like it was created just for you,” Guzik said.
The concierge service will go beyond helping service the car. For example, a user might be able to borrow a bike from Prazo — delivered to the car of course.
High price tag
All of that starts to sound like it might be expensive, but Guzik insists that shoppers will be able to get into the cars “with very little money down,” and a monthly payment somewhere around $300.
That’s ambitious, says Jack Nerad, an executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book.
“I’m not sure people will see the value in something like that,” Nerad said, “especially when you can lease any new car you want from among some 300 new models, most of which are incentivized.”
Pointing to unemployment and underemployment among some millennials, Nerad suggests a $300 monthly payment for Prazo might be out of the question.
“A lot of millennials are just driving used cars because that’s what they can afford.”
But, Prazo’s role as a transportation concierge adds the kind of extras people won’t otherwise get from buying a car the old-fashioned way, Guzik says.
Still, the on-demand space is crowded and competitive. And while the success of companies like Uber prove people are willing to spend money for convenience, Prazo is no $20 ride across town.
“It will be a tough sell only because we’re a new company,” Guzik admitted, but he emphasised that it’s important for Prazo to get that “Amazon Prime of cars” idea just right. He says that’s also why it’s important to reel in those millennials.
“We want to create an amazingly good value for the user and give them as much free stuff as we can … if we can make your pennies count a lot more, that’s really our main goal.”
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