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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Finding a selfdrive car rental in Bangalore

April 2013 Update: Zoom car is the latest and best choice in Bengaluru for self drive car rentals. Detailed review here.

Original post: 

They say well begun is half done. But in my case it began badly but ended extremely well.

I was looking for a car to be rented on self drive basis in Bangalore, for our proposed Wayanad trip. This post is a quick sum up of options and experiences I went through while finding a suitable car.
Scorpio parked besides Tea garden in Wayanad
While Carzonrent (Hertz India franchisee) was my preferred choice, I decided to explore other options first.

Checked classified on internet- There was one person called Thomas, who had a ford Ikon on offer for just Rs 1000 per day. This was pretty cheap, but after little enquiry learnt that the car is a 2002 model. Realized that it can be quite risky to go on a long drive with a old car. (May be for city use we can consider this) Also taking a car from individual has its own pros and cons- mostly this is done without any paperwork or insurance and in case of any dispute it’ll be up to the two individuals to resolve. If the car has some endorsements police will catch us. Also this person wanted passport in original as security-with a visa stamping on it I felt it will be risky to leave my pp in the custody of a stranger.

I tried Avis- These people have some of the best vehicles among all travel agencies- Avis has Honda CR-V, Honda Accord, Ford Endeavor and many such high end cars. But unfortunately they give them on rent only to some corporate clients and not to individuals (for self drive). The best Avis Chennai could offer was Optra Elite Petrol at Rs 3700 a day. Almost all the cars they had were petrol variants, meaning I’d to spend heavily on fuel. Also their security deposit amount is just too much. For Optra it was Rs 60000 and for cars like Corolla it is 1,20,000 –This amount is a bit too much to accept and risk. Compared to this, Hertz blocks only Rs 30000 for Skoda Octavia or 20000 for Ford Fiesta-meaning, my maximum liability is Rs 20000 for a Fiesta in case of damage/loss/accidents, which is sensible and relatively affordable.

Though Avis Bangalore rental is slightly cheaper than Hertz, it was not clear if a particular car was petrol or diesel variant. (For example, Ford Ikon is available in 1.3 litre petrol variant, as well as 1.6 and 1.8 litre diesel variants-driving experience and operating expense will be different for these models, which I wanted to take into consideration before taking final decision. When I sent an email to Bangalore Avis enquiring about age and engine specs, got a stern reply that their entire booking process is online, and I need to book the car online. I was in no mood to make a payment at such a high deposit rates without seeing the car. So avis was out.

Another player, Autoriders didn’t respond to my mails in time.

Coming back to Hertz, the initial response was unimpressive. I was running two parallel enquiries- One person, Anil, replies stating they have 4 of cars- Santro, Getz/Swift and Ford Fiesta. Only Fiesta was diesel while rest were petrol. Fiesta was Rs 3000 per day, while Swift was Rs 1800 per day. I did a quick calculation- we were scheduled to drive nearly 700 kms. For these many kms, the low rent + high fuel expense of Swift would almost equal to high rent +low fuel expense of Fiesta. Another 100+ kms-Fiesta will have clear advantage. Considering more space and power I asked Hertz to book Fiesta. After few days my second enquiry fetches a reply that they have Santro, Getz and Swift for self drive. I promptly reply that I’ve booked Ford Fiesta already. (Lack of coordination) Also it was more economical to rent it for 3 days and avail unlimited km offer, than pay Rs 12 per km extra for each km in excess of permitted 150 kms per day. (Our trip was for only 2 days, but on Monday I was scheduled to give a talk at MSRIT Bangalore and had few other plans, hence booked for a total of 3 days)

I then inform them about my itinerary and ask for a pick up from Bangalore City railway station at 4 AM on 20th. I was asked to come to Hertz office in Adugodi on my own. That was so unprofessional- they run a car rental agency and ask me to come to their office in a car rented from a competition. I mailed back expressing my dissatisfaction. After some hesitation they agreed to send pick up but threw a new bomb that Self drive is open only from 8 AM to 8 PM. If I wait till 8 AM for their shop to open, it will be mid day before I can leave the city limit. That was just not acceptable. Their Chennai office operates 24x7-don’t know why can’t the Bangalore office? I escalated the issue to the person in their Chennai branch, Mr Lazer, with whom I had dealt earlier (Chennai Mysore self drive in Skoda Octavia), saying that I am extremely unhappy about this and I don’t want their service if I can’t get it by 4 AM. Incidentally Lazer calls me as assures me of the required service, Bangalore office agrees to be available on 20th morning 4 AM and ensure that the car is handed over early morning.

Chennai Hertz had sent me a booking confirmation number via SMS. Nothing like that happened from Bangalore. Hertz Bangalore sounded so unprofessional and uninterested- may be because no one asks for a self drive car and all their customers are corporate giants.

Relieved, I proceed with my plan. So much trouble and formalities for self drive. No wonder many people prefer the conventional chauffer driven rental.

7 days to go. One of the participants give a hint that he may pull out due to a possible onsite assignment. Excluding him we still had four persons to keep the trip economically viable-team agreed on the possible increase in per head expense in case 5th person is out, so we ask him give us a final decision in next 5 days, so that we’ll have 2 more days to find a replacement.

Meanwhile Autorider responds with details of the cars they have on self drive. Their rental is cheaper, unlimited kms if rented for 2 or more days, but having confirmed at Hertz, I reply in negative, assuring that I’ll consider them next time.

Monday, 15th Sep, 5 days to the trip, I get a surprise call from Bangalore Hertz. I’m told that they’ll be upgrading me to a brand new Scorpio at the same rent, as the previous rental of Ford Fiesta which I’d booked, is getting extended, making itself unavailable for the dates I had booked. That was great. Scorpio is a pretty good SUV-driving that will be a pleasant experience. Whoever took that Ford Fiesta ahead of me and extended their tenure-god bless them. I instantly agreed-now kind of restless-eagerly waiting for the Saturday to come and when I’ll get my hands on the Scorpio…Raveesh asked “What if they down grade us back to a 5 seater sedan later?” I didn’t have an answer. Hoped that won’t happen.

Taking a virgin vehicle that hasn’t even completed its initial 1000 kms (which is crucial to allow the engine components to be bedded in properly) has its own risks. Fuel economy will be low till first few servicing, there might be undetected problems and vehicle may not be at its best-pickup may not be optimum. Whatever it is, Scorpio is a Scorpio and I was determined to ride it. Tthough Scorpio was offered at no extra cost, it would consume more diesel than what was originally budgeted for Ford Fiesta. But I got 2 extra seats (it was a 7 seater Scorpio) Now I made an attempt to see if we can get 2 extra participants, so that we’ll have a car full of people, per head expense comes down and more people get to enjoy the trip. But I guess it was little late- most people replied in Negative as they had other plans. I checked with the team- we felt it will be still be economically viable as long as we’ve minimum four participants.

One day to go, a process optimization idea comes up. After discussion with Anil of Carzonrent, we reach an agreement that I’ll be sending him scanned copies of the documents in advance and he would come prepared with paperwork to railway station and handover the car to me at the railway station itself. There was no need to go to Hertz office in Koramangala and this meant a generous saving of 45-60 minutes. It’s a gray Scorpio-we’ll wait outside the railway station-you can easily find the vehicle-he assures. So kind of him.

Friday evening, my mind is already inside Scorpio, on the driver’s seat. Only my body was in Chennai…

Saturday morning, train gets delayed by more than an hour, Anil from Carzonrent waits for me patiently at the Railway station-the much awaited moment turns into reality and I get my hands on a brand new (registered on 15th Sep, Only 600 kms on the Odo) Scorpio powered by mHawk and I was all set to break free...

That’s the saga how I got my hands on the SUV. More interesting posts to follow. Detailed review of Mahindra Scorpio v Series m-Hawk vls


April 2009 Update: Car Club has some good collection of cars at reasonable rates in Bangalore. Rented their Innova last week. It was good.

Similar: Chennai Mysore Self drive * Complete Guide to self drive car rentals in India * A more detailed post on self drive car rentals, rates etc *

Destinations/weekend getaways from Bangalore: Wayanad * Ooty, Coonoor, Kotagiri * Madhugiri fort * Skandagiri * Chitradurga *

25 comments :

tamiljunction said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mridula said...

Hey, have a wonderful trip with the Scorpio.

Anonymous said...

And the first guy wanted a passport as security- with visa stamped on it ?????
LOL. am sure he also mentioned which country VISA he needed it to??

Didn't know you have so many options with carzonrent?

~Sarvesh

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@ Mridula,

Thanks

@SArvesh,

No. I mean my passport had a visa stamping on it and I was hesitant to give it to him

@ All,
I have just returned from a 2 day trip to Wayanad in the Scorpio. The vehicle is superb. Wait for more details.

neal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Niklaus Wirth said...

See my traversal - I am checking out the review of indica vista .. then i see your comment about your review of scoripio mHawk in that blog.. after reading that post, i come to this post..

Glad to have met a tour/car enthusiast. Thanks to this place, i've learned about self drive car rentals and i will give it a try if a need should arise. I will go through the skoda post now ..

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Niklaus,

Glad this post was useful.

don said...

I would need some help here..and it's quite urgent..
I did contact 4 guys for hiring a vehicle for self drive coming weekend.. carzonrent,autoriders,avis and a 3rd party.
I am going for a small car santro or similar types..
Cheapest is Autoriders ~1000 per day and 10k deposit..
while carzonrent is asking for 1500 a day with 15k deposit. Avis for ikon he takes 1400 + 50k deposit and also mandate cdw + tp comes to 6248 for 3 days.. 3rd party fella is taking 4500 for ikon/accent.
each one has it's own advantages and disadvantages..Which one shall i opt??
Thanks in advance

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Avis asks unreasonably high deposit-they asked for 65000 deposit for Swift in Delhi.

Hertz/carzonrent is good. Try car club also-they offer FOrd Fiesta for Rs 2200 per day, diesel-if you're going long distace, you'll save on fuel even if you pay slightly higher rent.

4500/day for Ikon/accent is too much-we get a Skoda for that price.

Go for Hertz or car club

don said...

Thanks Shrinidhi..
4500 is for 3 days..but i really dont wana commit to that person..not legal as well..and he needs passport.Noways :).
I did check in online with hertz, but there it shows per day rent to be 1100 while a person from carzonrent-Anil told 1500! I made a reservation now online with different location to pick up.
hopefully that will work out

don said...

and i am lookin gout for santro/swift itself.and it's not very long distance i am gonna travese.so no issues

Rajan said...

Thanks a ton. Very helpful

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Don,
Sorry I missed to reply.
Hertz website is not updated in realtime, so data available there is unreliable.

Some of my readers have tried Budget car rentals- try them. They are supposed to be cheapest, when they run some offers. (someone got a corolla for Rs 1400/day under some promo offer- can you believe it?)

1500 per day is standard rate with most of the agencies for Small cars Should be lucky to get it for 1000.

So from where did you rent it?

Rajan:
You're welcome

Lee said...

good post! Thanks for the info!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

You're welcome Lee

Hertzuk said...

I think Hertz Car Rental agency is good.It provides car rental in UK, Europe & worldwide.

Anonymous said...

I took from budget-bangalore its very cheap 900/- per day swift diesel. per day 250kms and 20,000/- deposit. i dont see any problems. you can book from online and very responsive. you can pickup the vehicle by parking your byke at car rental place.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Good. You didn;t opt for CDW and TP?

I had some issues with their web booking and they wanted advance payments...

Hopefully things are better now

Rohit said...

If any one is looking for self driven car in bangalore at the best price kindly contact me
Cars tarrif:
1. Ford Ikon,Accent,Swift,Baleno : 1600- 1700 per day.
2. I10,Chevrolet Aveo U-VA : 1300-1600 perday.
3. Fiesta,Sx4 : 1700-2000 perday.
4. Alto,Wagon R: 1200-1500 per day.

Regards,
Rohit

Esther said...

Hi Rohit, can you please give me your contact number? I want to big a car for two days.

pradeep said...

Thank You

The given information is very effective
i will keep updated with the same

office for rent

James Knight said...

Driving in India's rough road rural sides would need 4WD vehicles like this used lincoln mkz that hits the terrain well.

Vivek said...

Can you please provide the contact number and website address of Budget car rentals or Budget-Bangalore?

Vivek said...

Can you please provide the contact number and website address of Budget car rentals or Budget-Bangalore?

Sayanta Ghosh said...

Try out the market place consisting of best self drive car vendors in Bangalore

http://peersome.com