Rohit Gulati always wanted to buy a car that would have enough space for all eight members of his family. But with his limited savings, he didn’t see that happening for some years.

In August, the 34-year-old Café Coffee Day supply chain executive, spotted a newspaper advertisement about a new car financing program. Four months later, Gulati was ferrying his family across New Delhi in a new Maruti Eeco.

EMI Free Car, the financing firm that helped Gulati, builds on the get-paid-to-drive concept in which owners are paid money to put up advertisements on their cars.

The company puts up vinyl ads on the exterior of a new car and makes 36 monthly payments (called equated monthly instalments or EMIs) on a five-year bank loan on behalf of the car’s buyer. In return, the owner has to drive the car for a distance of at least 1,500 kilometres each month.

India’s burgeoning middle class has long viewed an automobile as a step up the social ladder or a status symbol, often using bank loans to finance their cars.