Fleet News

Only major players survive as rental industry consolidates

FIERCE competition in the UK rental industry has led to a consistent fall in the number of car rental businesses since 1991, down from 2,000 to 1,810, while the number of locations has increased by 300 over the same period to 4,700.

According to a report by Marketline International 'EU Car Rental: Opportunities & Trends to the Next Millennium', the value of the UK car rental market has grown 5.7% between 1991 and 1995, and estimates it will be worth £690 million this year. This is attributable to volume, not rate rises. The number of rental transactions recorded a rise every year this decade. In 1994 volumes rose by 10%, followed by 5.5% last year and 3.5% forecast for this year.

Pressure on margins has focused attention on utilisation rates, which have risen over the period 1991-1995 from 56% to 64%. However, says the report, further improvements in utilisation rates are essential if companies are to stay in business.

Tracked over the period 1991-1995, inflation rose by 11.4%, while hire prices fell 7.5%, making a real term shortfall of almost 19%. Prices did rise in 1995, but only by 1.2%. Rental operators have sought to offset this by promoting longer rental periods, with average hire periods rising from 3.8 days in 1991 to 4.3 last year.

Among key fleet suppliers, Avis has the largest fleet in the UK with 21,000 cars last year; followed by EuroDollar, 16,250; Hertz, 16,000; United Kenning, 14,000; and Budget, 12,500. United Kenning has the largest network of locations with 268; followed by Avis, 185; Budget, 154; Hertz, 146; and Europcar, 106. For futher details phone 0171 794 2770.

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