This week, 1Car1, the vehicle hire business went into administration. If you are planning an analysis piece on the state of the UKs vehicle hire sector, Europcar, the UKs leading vehicle hire business can provide comment.
Catriona Lougher Marketing Director for Europcar UK Group says: “Our customers tell us that they want a company that delivers on its promises and we at Europcar are able to do just this in the current economic climate.”
The vehicle hire sector as a whole is facing serious challenges in terms of fleet supply and cost, cut backs in business travel and the general downturn in the economy. It’s a tough time for the sector and really only the fittest will survive.
“At Europcar we were able to anticipate some of these challenges,” confirmed Catriona Lougher. “We recognised the impact a downturn in corporate business would have on our income and began remodelling ourselves to become much more consumer focused – in fact we have a clear objective to become the UKs most consumer focused hire business.”
“With holiday budgets tight, and families reducing costs on car maintenance and even downscaling their car to a more economical vehicle we are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the rise of the ‘stay-cation’ and the demand for flexible, no nonsense car and van hire to help consumers manage their motoring costs,” continued Catriona Lougher. “In fact 27% of our customers hire because they are worried about the reliability of their car, 21% because their own car has broken down and 24% need a vehicle bigger than their usual car. Furthermore, 23% hire because they don’t have a car.”
“Catriona Lougher concludes that “2008 saw a resurgence of the UK holiday which led to a real uplift in hires and it looks set for this trend to continue in 2009 as households try to cut costs but not at the expense of safety or comfort.”
A recent YouGov survey conducted by Europcar revealed that over 1 in 5 people (23%) have either used or are considering using car hire or car clubs as an alternative to car ownership. 1 in 3 drivers (34%) now think that people are trapped into car ownership by their location, work and family commitments. And, around 1 in 4 thinks that the cost of ownership outweighs the benefits.