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EXPERIENCED automotive industry executive Ben Hershman has joined Australian car subscription service Carly as its chief operating officer.

Mr Hershman brings more than 25 years’ industry experience to the role, most recently with the Deloitte Motor Industry Services (MIS) team where for the past two years he has served as a director and provided specialist consulting services for dealerships and distributors across the region.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Mr Hershman had a 12-month stint with Automotive Holdings Group (AHG) as a customer engagement and business consultant, moving to the large Australian dealer group after many years working with OEMs, particularly Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) and Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA).

At VGA, Mr Hershman served in a variety of roles over a couple of different periods, including general manager of group retail development from March 2014 to October 2015 – a position which saw him oversee the dealer networks of both the Volkswagen and Skoda brands.

Earlier in his career, he worked in the group’s commercial vehicles department as an area manager before rising to national fleet and government manager in same division.

At HMCA, Mr Hershman served for almost a decade in key roles, starting as product planning manager in 2004, moving to senior manager of public relations and related functions in 2008 and finishing in 2014 after about 18 months as senior regional sales manager for the company’s eastern region.

Mr Hershman began his automotive career with the Ford Motor Company in the United Kingdom during the mid-1990s, starting as a project manager under the Blue Oval brand’s engineering graduate development program.

As COO at Carly, Mr Hershman will be responsible for leading the fast-growing car subscription company’s sales, operations and product teams “to expand the demand for consumer and business car subscriptions and deliver new revenue channels for automotive dealers, manufacturers and fleet managers”.

Launched in Sydney in March last year, Carly is a subsidiary of publicly listed Australian company Collaborate Corporation and a sibling to car rental business DriveMyCar.

It quickly expanded into Melbourne, and launched in Brisbane and the Gold Coast in February this year.

The company also plans to launch in New Zealand once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

In a statement, Carly chief executive Chris Noone said: “Ben brings strategic experience and operational understanding of the automotive industry that will drive Carly’s bold vision.

“With his unparalleled focus on customer experience, Ben will play an integral role in evolving our business to meet the changing needs and demands of Australian businesses and car drivers,” he said.

“Ben’s experience will enable us to accelerate the growth of the car subscription industry in Australia, which is now even more important to consumers, businesses and the auto industry as we become accustomed to the challenges of the post-COVID-19 economy.”

Mr Hershman said: “There is a growing interest in vehicle subscription and Carly is at the cutting edge of the subscription model.

“Carly is connecting customers who are interested in car subscription with access to a range of vehicles, including passenger cars, SUVs and utes, direct from dealers and distributors. This is opening up a new revenue stream for the automotive industry and offering drivers a flexible mobility solution.

“Car subscription is evolving quickly as a complementary model to traditional buying and leasing options. One of our opportunities is to educate drivers and businesses that subscription is a low-risk alternative and a convenient way to access a car without committing to an outright purchase or long-term lease,” he said.

Mr Hershman’s appointment comes a month after Jessica Gutierrez joined Carly as head of marketing.

By Terry Martin

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