Why rental is key to delivering mobility
According to Driving Futures, a new paper published today, several key work and lifestyle changes are driving the growth of car rental in the UK. These include reducing risk, controlling cost and creating a better fit between the vehicle and the journey.
Driving Futures identifies how car rental is becoming a cornerstone of sustainable motoring. It outlines the role of car hire in an age when motorised transport remains key to everyday living, and whilst businesses and individuals alike demand greater economic and environmental sustainability. The paper was developed by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and introduced by Richard Burden MP, Chair of the Parliamentary All Party Motor Group.
Government data indicates the number of cars in the UK has trebled over the past 50 years and is set to grow in the next 25 years as population continues to increase. UK households spend £14 billion per year on vehicles which they use to travel over 420 billion miles every year.
As car usage continues to grow, Driving Futures examines how a change in priorities is encouraging more people to consider car rental as an option:
o Businesses are increasingly looking to rental to reduce the impact of the ‘grey fleet’. Businessesare using car rental to lower costs and reduce exposure to discretionary ‘grey fleet’ usage, where employees use their own cars for a business trip and then recharge mileage costs back to the company. Rental has many advantages over the ’grey fleet’. A daily rental charge, even including petrol, can be significantly lower than the cost of mileage reimbursement for many business trips. Also, employers have greater control over the type and quality of vehicle selected.
o Drivers can select a more appropriate vehicle for a journey to reduce environmental impact. This is important to both consumer and business motorists. In a bid to reduce their carbon footprint, companies are encouraging employees to select smaller vehicles with lower emissions by introducing new travel policies and adapting the default car class setting on their car rental booking system to more fuel-efficient models.
Equally, consumers use rental to select the right vehicle for their journey. Enterprise Rent-A-Car research shows the four top domestic uses for a car (in order of importance) are shopping, holidays, meetings and commuting – all of which can require a different type of vehicle.
o Consumers are looking for options offering better value for money. Cost of living increases and lower disposable incomes, combined with the effects of economic recession, have made consumers more thoughtful about spending, with rental being explored as a ‘pay-on-demand’ mobility solution.
o Rental helps to address duty of care responsibilities. One in three road crashes involves a vehicle being driven for work and every week this results in around 200 work-related deaths or serious injuries, some occuring as a result of a poorly maintained vehicle. Car rental provides peace of mind as hire cars are regularly maintained and always in top condition.
o Providing a ‘shop window’ for new technologies. Rental can reduce the perceived risk involved in early adoption of emerging vehicle technology such as electric vehicles: research indicates that only 16 percent of consumers across Europe would currently consider purchasing an electric vehicle. From ‘try before your buy’ to providing access to the benefits new technologies bring, rental can help bridge the anxiety gap.
o Changing attitudes towards ownership and sharing. In the book What’s Mine Is Yours, analyst and social innovator Rachel Botsman identifies the trend of ‘collaborative consumption’, which shows consumers are increasingly comfortable in sharing high value assets such as property and vehicles. This trend can explain the emergence of hourly rental, often referred to as car-sharing or car clubs.
Mike Nigro, Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s UK managing director, comments “There’s been a transformation in how a lot of people view ‘the car’. It’s no longer necessarily about owning more than one vehicle. Instead it’s about having access to the right car when you need it. Underpinning many of these trends is a push towards greater financial and environmental sustainability, but there are also other factors that are more related to changing work and lifestyle choices.
“Rental works by responding to the mobility needs of consumers in a wide range of different circumstances, at home, at work or on holiday, as a complement to vehicle ownership, and over a range of timeframes – one hour to several weeks or even months. Today we’re seeing demand start to move in a new direction, as new social and economic factors affect how people use and own vehicles.
“Because sustainability goes beyond vehicle provision, this paper also looks at how the rental industry contributes to our greater economic prosperity by providing careers and employment, supporting communities and investing in new social programmes and scientific research.
“We’re at the beginning of an era when car hire can truly show its value, as long as providers continue to get the product and the service just right.”
Richard Burden, MP and Chair of the Parliamentary All Party Motor Group, said, “If we are to achieve a low carbon future we have to ask, how can we achieve a more sustainable transport system, reducing the environmental burden of road transport whilst supporting personal and economic well-being?
“We need to consider how, when, where and why people use cars. To look at how we can support both the development and the promotion of low carbon technologies. How we can encourage changes in attitudes and behaviour so that people drive more sustainably.
“These are not easy questions but ‘Driving Futures’ is a very helpful starting point and I am pleased that Enterprise Rent-A-Car are taking forward initiatives towards more sustainable motoring.”
The Paper comes just several weeks after Enterprise Holdings, Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s parent company, released its first Annual Sustainability Report. Both reports are available on drivingfutures.co.uk.
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About Enterprise Rent-A-Car
In the UK, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the sole specialist in providing replacement vehicles and courtesy cars, which are relied upon in the event of an accident. Enterprise, with more than 7,000 offices in the UK, Germany, Ireland, the United States and Canada, also offers daily and weekend rental for private or business use.
St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental service provider in the world, operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand through its regional subsidiaries. Enterprise started in the UK in 1994 and has rapidly expanded. Currently operating more than 350 locations across the UK, with over 3,000 employees, three quarters of the UK population are within five miles of an Enterprise location.
For more information about Enterprise, visit www.enterprise.co.uk. For more information about Enterprise’s environmental stewardship and long-term commitment to the sustainability of its business, visit www.drivingfutures.co.uk.
[This news release and other Enterprise Rent-A-Car announcements are available at the Enterprise Holdings press room]