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Car Rental Market Revenue and Industry Expansion Strategies

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Puneet Shah
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The World Travel and Tourism Council reported that in 2018, a growth of 3.9% was witnessed by the global travel and tourism industry. It created more than 319 million jobs worldwide and amassed $8.8 trillion in 2018. This massive growth in the industry also boosted the growth of other related industries, such as car rental. Nowadays, tourists prefer renting cars to explore a new place as it gives them the flexibility of planning their own itinerary without the fear of relying on public transport system. Car rental services allow customers to travel to their choice of places as per their convenience. Further, the rising disposable income has also established the trend of more people taking short trips. Rather than taking their own vehicle, customers prefer renting cars; airport rentals are the most common as tourists rent a car immediately after landing in a new country and keep the car with them for the whole duration of their stay or drop them off at convenient drop-off points.

Witnessing a 7.9% CAGR, the car rental market is expected to generate a revenue of $122.6 billion in the coming years. Car rental services are offered via three different vehicle types: luxury, executive, and economy. During 2014–2018, the economy vehicle type was used the most for car rental services. These cars are inexpensive and are smaller in size and have a seating capacity of four to five persons. Being smaller in size, these cars have a high fuel efficiency, which makes them a suitable option for rental services. Further, amidst growing environmental concerns, these cars are witnessing a high demand as their impact on the environment is not as severe as other cars. In the coming years, the luxury cars are predicted to register a faster growth in demand, as the global disposable income is improving. These cars offer superior performance, comfort, and have better configuration.

One of the key trends in the car rental market is the deployment of electric vehicles for rental purposes. In wake of rising concerns about vehicular emission, governments of many countries are bringing in stringent regulatory policies to cut down on such emissions. From offering subsidies and incentives to creating awareness about the harmful effects of conventional energy sources on the environment, governments and various organizations are working toward popularizing the use of electric vehicles. In Europe and the U.S., one of the rental companies, Sixt SE offers fully electric cars in the luxury segment, such as BMW i8, BMW i3, tesla Model X, and Tesla Model S. In India, in 2018, Zoomcar India Pvt Ltd. entered into a partnership with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd for the deployment of electric cars for rental purposes.

The popularity of the internet has resulted in the development of the online or digital car rental system, which is helping the car rental sector become more organized. Online car rental allows the consumers to shortlist the car of choice, and make bookings well in advance without the hassle of visiting the office. Further, majority of the companies have their own applications, which can be used by consumers to avail any assistance that they may need throughout the rental period. Therefore, the digitization of the car rental process has made it much safer, transparent, and cost-effective, which has been instrumental in making these services popular.

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