The business of luxury is not an easy one, especially if you are taking the risk of introducing luxury to a city. The situation becomes even more challenging if its in the automobile sector, for buying a car is anyway a luxury in India and when it comes to high-end cars, the challenge to sell is even bigger.
But that didn’t deter entrepreneur Adarsh Tulshan, director of Celica Automobiles and Celica Developers. If you have spotted a Harley Davidson or a Jeep or any other luxury car in the roads of Kolkata, there’s a good chance it must have come from Tulshan’s bevy of automobile showrooms in the city.
Starting at 18
For Tulshan, the zeal for entrepreneurship started on an early note. Right after his Class 12 boards, Tulshan joined Magma Fincorp as a trainee and worked on the financing aspect for new cars. As the company also dabbled into the pre-owner cars segment, Tulshan too got to know about the functioning of the same. “That’s how I learnt about the automobile business right from the financing to the insurance aspect of it,” said Tulshan.
While thinking about appearing for the CAT exams, Tulshan began to rethink about his career and his excitement for cars helped. One day, over a few drinks along with his friend, they decided to start a business of pre-owned cars. “We called the company Speed Inc. and started the business operations from my own garage and started parking cars in the space. Slowly, we got hold of a client base,” he said.
Scaling it Up
As the business started picking up, in 2007, they also worked on the certification of pre-owned cars. “We started dealing with high-end cars, as they didn’t have showrooms in Kolkata. Soon, we got the chance to represent Chevrolet and were even awarded best dealer of the year,” he said.
Ever since then, there has been no stopped Tulshan. The likes of Harley Davidson, Vespa, Jeep, UM Motorcycle etc. joined his line of automobile showrooms.
Soon in an attempt to diversify he joined his father-in-law’s real estate business and got involved in the process of leasing out properties. “A lot of the properties were sitting idle, so we started leasing it out and offering it to Small and Medium Businesses. Today, we have leased out half of the restaurants in Park Street, Kolkata and are looking at converting it into a fun, entertainment zone,” said Tulshan. Having introduced a cluster of restaurants, Tulshan is now looking at bringing in world-class gyms and spas, along with a co-working space for start-ups in the area.
Challenges of the High-End Automobile Business
Being based out of Kolkata and dealing in the luxury sector, threw a lot of challenges towards Tulshan. With the absence of the luxury showrooms in the city, sales became a tougher job. “Kolkata surprises you. You have to get the product accepted and the people are conservative. They do not want to spend their hard earned money but once they choose to do so, they become loyal customers.”
While their experience from selling pre-owned cars helped, the first few years were very tough as the automobile sector in itself is a challenging one. “There are way too many competitors, thus giving the people too many choices. In such a case, the product and the after sale service helps. So, while we are looking at expanding to Tier II and Tier III cities nearby, it’s not an immediate step we’ll be taking,” explained Tulshan.