Rajeev Ranadive, Pixy Cars Pvt. Ltd. - economical and easy to maintain Vintage Cars

24th May 2011
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Many of us are passionate about Vintage Cars. However, it is difficult and expensive to own and run such cars. Pixy Cars Pvt. Ltd. has developed a range of cars for vintage car enthusiasts, which are easy to maintain, economical to run and practical to use! In a conversation with YourStory, Rajeev Ranadive, MD of Pixy Cars Pvt Ltd. tells us about his exciting journey.

Rajeev, Tell us about Pixy Cars.

Pre - War cars are masterpieces of art and technology. Restoring them is a challenge, owning them is a bigger challenge and driving them is the biggest challenge. Pixy cars enables the connoisseurs of automotive craft to own “cars inspired by the pre war beauties” endowed with all modern features, which are a pleasure to drive and simple to maintain!

Wow! So, how is Pixy Cars different from other players in the market?

The car manufacturers focus on high volume production of modern cars. The car modifiers(some times called “Designers”) take a modern car and re-shape it, install more comfort features etc. A modified car has its limitations. Pixy car proposes to manufacture the cars, using “Low volume production technology” to produce “Specialty Cars” which are aimed to satisfy the most discerning customers. Sports Car, inspired by the highly acclaimed “MG” is our flagship product.

So, what motivated you to start Pixy Cars? Is there a story behind it?

I was a fan of “Pre War Cars”, always wanted to own one, but could not due to exorbitant prices and lack of such cars on sale. During the vintage car events, I met hundreds like me, who were passionate, but had no means to own. In the developed countries, this segment of car connoisseurs is serviced by “Kit Car Suppliers” from whom one can buy a kit, and build a car resembling the classic. The car actually has new components and modern features. In India, the Motor Vehicle Act dose not provide for individual kit car assembly. Besides, Kit cars are expensive, being produced in high cost countries. No amount of “modification” can come close to the beautiful body of a classic car. The way out was to completely engineer “cars inspired by classic” and get in to manufacturing them. Since the cars are hand built, it was envisaged that manufacturing such cars will have huge cost advantage, and in the long run, we can expand into export market. I personally engineered and built a “Demonstrator Prototype” which was allowed to participate in the prestigious “Mumbai Vintage Car Rally”, and the organizers were very impressed with the efforts. The car was applauded by the huge crowd, and hundreds of aspirant buyers contacted us. A market survey was conducted by an independent group of enthusiasts, which indicated very positive response. Considering the fact that the only available option is a kit car produced in high cost countries, and that these cars are hand built, producing such cars in India will have huge cost advantage, and we can, in the long term look at the Export Market. Thus came the decision of creating Pixy Cars Pvt Ltd.

Pixy Car

Why the name Pixy Cars? How much capital was required to start?The name Pixy Cars was selected as the car looked as if it had come from a fairyland, and she will take us to our dreamland where classic cars still live immortally! It has taken over 70 Lakhs, and endless toil for 3 years to build the first “Pixy”. We are in the process of raising about 10 Crores to commence manufacturing.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

After doing my Mechanical Engineering from MS University, I worked for over 32 years, with large Indian and Multinational companies, engaged in vehicle manufacturing and vehicle engineering, at a National Head level, in functions covering R&D, Marketing, After Sales Services and finally country Head responsible for managing India Operations, including profitability of a multinational, engaged in providing automotive engineering services to companies based worldwide. I was responsible to support several high technology/complex projects of vehicle development.

Tell us about any tie-ups that you have.

We do have a tie-up with a well known “Specialty Car Manufacturer” based out of UK. We however, may depend on our own engineering, since we intend to use components from Indian vendors, and since we have a reasonable confidence level in our engineering. We may take help of the tie-up in case we need additional support, as a fall back arrangement. We have test marketed our concept car by participating in “Mumbai Vintage Car Rally”. Over 100 participants were interviewed, of which over 80% were keen to purchase, and have indicated acceptance of price higher than our own estimate. Additional 20% indicated interest to buy at a later date. This was a very targeted group of potential customers, and the interview was conducted by an independent group.

Pixy Car

Where do you see Pixy Cars Pvt. Ltd. five years from now?

Starting with Sports cars, we intend to expand into manufacture of “Luxury Cars Inspired By Pre- War Classic”, which will be aimed at Heritage hotels, tourists and for special occasions. We will further enhance our portfolio to cover “High Performance Vehicles” including motor sports.Have you been funded?

Our revenue will come from sale of our cars to Individuals, Hotels & Car Rental, Motor sports Teams. We have not been funded yet, but since the “Performance Technology” developed by us has received National Level awards such as “Proto.In”, IIT-B Alumnus, and Indira Institue award for Innovation Excellence, we qualify for TePP Grant and subsidized loan from TDB, which is being applied for.

What are the challenges that you faced while developing your products? How did you overcome those challenges?

The biggest challenge was to handle all technological inputs single-handedly, since I could not afford to employ a team of engineers. The way out was to work hard, often 18 hours a day, without a week end break.

How big is the team behind Pixy Cars Pvt. Ltd.? Are you looking at hiring?

Shekhar Agharkar, Director, Finance & Corporate Affairs, has over 25 years experience in managing corporate affairs and finances of large and small companies, Indian and multinational companies. At working level, we have 4 skilled craftsmen, to replicate the immortal beauty of classic cars. As soon as our funding is in place, we will commence recruitment.

So, what next at Pixy Cars?

We propose to raise our own finance this month, which will enable us to acquire some basic facility to build a “Per-Production Prototype” which will be submitted for “Homologation Certification” which takes about 6 months. In the meanwhile, we propose to raise funds from TePP, TDB and private investors, and create our production facility, by the time our certification process is complete.

Tell us about your target customers. What is the size of the market that you want to tap into?

Our Target Customers are as follows

Millionaires – 1,000

Upper Class – 12,00,000

Upper Middle Class 40,00,000

These persons purchase the following vehicles per year

Cars costing over 50 Lakhs – 5,000

Premium Cars - 15,000

Executive Sedan - 55,000

A Total of 70,000 cars are bought in this segment, of which we expect 1% share that is at 700 Cars, when we become fully operational, expected time frame 3 years. At 25 Lakhs average price per car, expected turn over is 175 Crores. Net Profit is expected to be 35 Crores at 20% Of sales. Capital Employed at this level of production will be 50 Crores. ROI will be 70%.

Wow! We at YourStory are surely impressed after this conversation with Mr.Rajeev.

Do check out http://automotive-robotics.com/ for more details.

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