Recently Avis introduced Mercedes luxury cars to its fleet in India. How do you see the luxury car rental space in the country?
While a certain level of demand for luxury car rental has always been there, there has been an uptrend for the past four-five years due to the launch of new models of luxury cars in the market and increasing disposable incomes. Also since the concept of short vacations has picked up more and more young couples and families are ready to travel short distances, more often than not in a car larger than their own. Over a third of the Avis revenue comes from high end luxury cars.
Apart from the current 20 cities, does Avis have any plans to expand its operations to other cities in India?
Avis is growing at more than 25 per cent year on year. We recently opened our office in Vadodara in Gujarat and before that we had expanded our services to Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. The 20 cities expansion is based on a natural growth process. Wherever we acquire new business and places we see potential growth, we will open our offices. Our fleet of cars too keeps increasing with the clients.
What are your market development activities?
We have initiated multiple tie ups with Jet, Etihad, or Visa, Amercian Express, Master Card, SBI cards along with joint promotion campaigns. We continue our consumer and corporate awareness campaigns along with offering incentives for new customers for trying our services.
We have also tied up with Amercian Express and Master Card for offering 25 per cent discount each. With Axis NRI we offer 20 per cent.
What is the growth potential for luxury car rentals in Tier II and Tier III cities in India?
Even though metropolitan cities have high demand the real growth for luxury cars in the country is coming from Tier II and III towns. With rising incomes and exposure to modern facilities this sector is fast learning the benefits of a luxury car rental.
People utilise luxury cars for various reasons specifically when they want to make a statement. Almost all the customers who hire Avis cars for personal use take these cars out of their residential towns for vacations and other personal trips or for weddings, dates or when they need a larger car for family travel. This in particular has helped in increasing the demand further in these towns. To add to this, the MICE industry in India is a huge consumer of car rentals.
Car rentals vis a vis the fleet taxi segment in the future?
Both segments cater to separate audiences. Avis is the only international player in India. We have been present in the country for nearly 16 years now. Our emphasis on blending global systems with an understanding of local needs has enabled us to achieve market leadership in India.
Avis India’s investment in technology, processes and systems enables it to provide an unmatched international experience. We also have many firsts to our credit. Our technology coupled with our vast (India’s largest) network of offices helps us in ensuring a stress-free car rental experience by providing superior services that cater to our customer’s individual needs. Avis India has a fleet of more than 1700 premium cars across the country, with a network extending across 45 conveniently-located rental stations in 20 cities
Our chauffeurs are the highest paid in the country and entitled to perks like PPF, medical, leaves etc. This means that the guest can be assured of well trained, well spoken, courteous chauffeurs with knowledge of the local routes, so that the customer can have a relaxed trip.
Is self drive a growing segment in India?
While we do offer Self drive cars, the segments has still not seen growth. On the one hand cost of hiring a chauffeur in India is miniscule, driving through poor road conditions with minimalistic sign-ages makes a local chauffeur all that more important.