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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Zoomcar impact-Hertz wakes up, Avis still sleeping

This post is a quick relook on changing self drive car rental offerings at Bengaluru. If this topic doesn't  interest you, click here to read other posts.

Looks like success of recently operational Zoomcar.in, Bangalore based 100% self drive start up company is beginning to shake up the traditional biggies.

Few years ago, Hertz's India franchisee, Carzonrent had a rather expensive and limited fleet self drive service on offer- In Chennai they had an Octavia Rider which they later sold and were offering only a Getz and Santro. In Bengaluru, they had a nice Scorpio Vls and few other cars like Fiesta. Rent was high and process was not so simple. (Initially they had delivery and pickup service, but later insisted that customers should pickup and drop from their garage, during day time only (like 10AM-5PM), which wasn't viable for making weekend plans). Their website would blindly ask people to get in touch with the office for more details on self drive, instead of making fleet and availability details online.
rear view amidst tea plantation
Avis was another key player in self drive market. They were expensive but used to give good service.


However, none of the traditional car rental companies really estimated the potential of self drive. They never promoted it correctly and never had proper pricing and process to make the deal tempting and convenient for prospective customers. Probably most of their revenue came from Corporate customers and self drive business wasn't really treated as profit centre.

However, it took couple of Americans to bring in the change the self drive renal landscape in Bengaluru. With Greg Moran and David founded Zoomcar.in becoming operational early this year, Bangaloreans are realizing the economy and convenience of self drive. As a result, most of the zoom cars are always sold out for the weekend, though they're adding more cars and locations every month. Rock bottom pricing, friendly website and process, included fuel are some of the key reasons for Zoom's success.

Obviously this seem to have shaken Hertz big time. Recently they've revamped their website and self drive section has got good attention. If you check Hertz Bangalore, you'll see Mahindra Reva e2O being offered at Rs 100 per hour (50% cheaper than Zoomcar). Similarly other cars- Vento, XUV500, Polo, Swift etc are also priced very attractively. However main catch being the minimum billing requirement, which means these cars can't be rented for an hour or so like Zoom and need to be rented for minimum 2-3 days in most of the cases. [Detail] Also fuel price is not included in the rental. So still not a match to what Zoomcar offers, but getting closer.

Unfortunately, Avis management still seem to be sleeping. They haven't bothered to refresh their self drive offering. They still continue to offer only Etios Petrol and an Innova on self drive, at a price tag two times the competition.

Apart from this, several individuals are also evaluating the prospect of launching a similar startup, with a fleet of few cars to begin with and trying to rent it out among friends and relatives in the beginning. Government has a stupid mandate that self drive fleet operator should have minimum 50 cars, which is difficult for small players to comply with. So many intend to run this business with white board vehicles. Self drive rental is not as smooth as it seems from the outside- there're many risks associated and one should be able to deal with them tactfully. (Example: rowdies taking a car for rent and using it for illegal purposes)

Anyhow, it is interesting to watch the changing dynamics of self drive market, resulting in more options to customer at cheaper rates.

Other self drive posts: Self drive rental in india- complete guide * Self drive rental in Bengaluru * Zoom in BMW

7 comments :

Sid said...

Carzonrent is actually doing a pretty good job in Mumbai at least. Rented an etios from them and had a good experience first time. Next time I tried they accepted the booking but cancelled two days before rental date because the car got into an accident . service was good but number of cars seems limited.

They hav XUV as well which I didn't get a chance yet. Everything is online and process is easy.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sid,

thanks for sharing your experience. It has been few years since I last tried Hertz... Will check them in near future

Kebhari said...


Very interesting & thoughtful initiative! Lovely photography! Thanks for sharing

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Kebhari

Muneer Ahmed said...

Additionally, Hertz owns the vehicle leasing and fleet management leader Donlen Corporation and operates the Hertz 24/7TM hourly car rental business. renting used cars

Shrinidhi Hande said...

ok, thanks

Shrinidhi Hande said...

ok, thanks