Ride-hailing services have become very popular in Ghana in the past few years. America’s Uber entered the market in mid-2016 and was followed by Taxify in December 2017. Later in March 2019, Taxify rebranded as Bolt originating from Estonia.
Not long after, another ride-hailing service provider from Russia, Yango also launched its operation in the country – bringing to three, the total number of multinational players on the market.
There are a few local players like Yenko and Fameko Taxi but they remain far from being known.
Instructively, as the number of service providers grow and the number of drivers move in the same direction – even at a faster pace, the profit margins of drivers narrow. This is because new entrants crowd out early birds. In all of this, drivers have to breakeven, or even make profits, so they can pay ride-hailing service providers periodically for using their apps, keep their cars in good shape, and also buy fuel.
For this reason, it only makes economic sense to use cars which run on less fuel but provides the comfort that ride-hailing services are noted for. The list below will guide you on your choice of vehicle for this business.
1. Hyundai Eon
Although production of the Hyundai Eon was discontinued in May 2019, this subcompact car is still available at distributor outlets in Ghana including Hyundai World Ghana and Auto Plaza.
With low income developing countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America in mind, the South Korean manufacturer designed the Eon to be a cost-effective means of transport.
The Hyundai Eon is impressive on fuel consumption, offering almost 22km per litre of fuel. It comes in two powertrains – 814 cc (0.8-litre) and 1.0-litre engines. Using the Eon for your taxi business will save you lots of cedis. Its stylish exterior design will take your breath away.
However, the Eon does not guarantee much comfort for driver and passengers. It comes only in 5-speed manual transmission and can only seat two people comfortably at the back.
2. Hyundai i10
The i10 is another subcompact car from Hyundai that is ideal for your ride-hailing business. It comes in different engine specifications – 1.0-, 1.1-, 1.2-litre petrol and 1.1-litre diesel.
Compared with the Eon, the Hyundai i10 has a little more power and comes in both 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions. It also has a sleek interior that offers passengers some amount of comfort.
In the past decade, earlier generations of the i10 have been included in the corporate fleet of many firms including the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and Metro TV, both media houses. As such, the i10 has much credibility and will be good for your taxi business.
If you can afford, go a step further and buy the slightly larger version, the Grand i10. Both the i10 and Grand i10 are available at Hyundai distributorships across the country.
3. Hyundai Getz
The final Hyundai on this list, the Getz was also manufactured by South Korea’s Hyundai Motor from 2002 to 2011 when production finally ended.
For this reason, you will currently not find the Getz at a Hyundai distributorship but you can get one from the second-hand market which would save you some money. In fact, most of the Getz on the streets now were bought from the second-hand market.
This mini car boasts of engines that range between 1.1- and 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel, which offers the Getz more power than its two sister models – the Eon and the i10. Similar to the i10, the Getz comes in both 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions.
However, the Getz has more interior space than the Hyundai Eon and i10. It has more legroom and headroom and even more space in its booth. If it is a spacious, fuel-efficient Hyundai you want, then the Getz with the lower end engines is your best bet.
4. Kia Picanto/Morning
The Picanto, which was sold under the ‘Morning’ nameplate in its home market of South Korea, is one of Ghana’s favourite mini cars. It is manufactured by Kia Motors and has been on the market since 2004.
The Picanto comes in 1.0-, 1.1-, and 1.2-litre petrol engines. There is also a 1.1-litre diesel and a 1.0-litre petrol/gas engine. It is very fuel-efficient, offering almost 20km per litre of fuel. Only the Hyundai i10 has similar fuel consumption like the Picanto on this list.
It comes in both 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions. This subcompact car is also very fuel-efficient. The current generation has stylish interior and exterior. The Picanto is indeed a true city car and a good one for the ride-hailing market.
5. Suzuki Alto
Also called the Suzuki Alto 800 and mostly built in India, this Japanese car is cute and sleek. It has been sold under the ‘Maruti Alto’ nameplate in the past and even currently in some markets as it is the creation of the joint venture between Japan’s Suzuki and India’s Maruti.
Although it is now becoming popular in Ghana, the Alto has for some time now been India’s best-selling car. If you understand the Indian car market very well, you will understand why the Alto is highly sought after there. Most Indians are frugal and so they use motorcycles more and when they decide to get a car instead, it must be one that is very low on fuel consumption. And cars like the Alto gives them just that.
With powertrains similar to that of the Hyundai Eon, the Alto’s 796cc (0.8-litre) and 998cc (1.0-litre) engines offer the most fuel-efficient car in Ghana currently. The Alto will give you about 23km per litre of fuel.
It comes in both 5-speed manual and 5-speed semi-automatic transmission (AMT). Using the Alto for your taxi business will give you the most value for your money on this list.
6. Toyota Yaris/Vitz/Echo/Platz
The Toyota Yaris/Vitz hatchback are built on the same chassis as the Toyota Echo/Platz. As such, these four models have similar exterior and even interior design. In fact, all models except the Vitz were made for export markets.
The Vitz is the nameplate under which the Yaris is sold in its home country Japan. Amongst the four models, the Yaris is the most popular nameplate in Ghana due to the goodwill the sedan version enjoys in the country.
The Vitz has a different crown (a power surge icon in an oval) from the traditional Toyota crown we know in Ghana. Since they are made for the Japanese market, the Vitz are right-hand drives but are converted to left-hand drives when they arrive on the shores of Ghana.
Any of these four models will give you value for money and it is easier to find them on the second-hand market. They come in engines ranging from 1.0- and 1.8-litre petrol and a 1.4-litre diesel is also available.
These four Toyota models have the widest range of transmissions on this list. There is a 5-speed manual, a 4-speed automatic, a 6-speed manual diesel, and a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission or shiftless transmission).
These cars are fuel-efficient (although the upper end engines consume more fuel than any car on this list) and very strong. However, it is still early to tell whether the Vitz models, which have had steering wheel conversion will be problematic or not. But in all, you can’t go wrong with a Toyota.
7. Chevrolet Spark/Matiz
Formally a South Korean brand (Daewoo) but now American (Chevrolet) after General Motors (GM) acquired the former in the early part of this century, forming a new entity called GM Daewoo.
The Chevrolet Matiz or Spark, formally Daewoo Matiz, started gaining popularity among traditional taxi drivers in Ghana at the beginning of this decade. It’s usage as a commercial car continued when multinational ride-hailing companies started entering Ghana’s market in 2016.
The Chevy Matiz/Spark comes in four different powertrains – 0.9-, 1.1-, and 1.2-litre petrol engines and a 0.9-litre diesel engine. There is a 4-speed automatic, a 5-speed manual, and a CVT auto.
This car, like the rest on this list, has a good reputation and is ideal for ride-hailing services in Ghana. Its efficiency will save you lots of money on fuel.