Fleet News

Europcar profits on track

CAR rental specialist Europcar Group is on track to double its pre-tax profits this year with Southern Europe playing a major role in fuelling its growth.

And the group, which claims to have a 16% share of the market, is still aiming to be the market leader by the end of 2003.

Chief executive officer Dr Michael Kern said: 'We are sticking to the pre-tax profit target of approximately €50 million for the entire year 2002, which represents a doubling of the year-end result for 2001.'

On the group's expansion plans, Kern said: 'During the next year, we want to further extend our franchise network, which embraces 123 countries at the moment, to focus on Asia and the Pacific.'

It said it has increased its market share through ventures with TUI AG, Delta Airlines and American Airlines.

Its customer focus policy, the company added, includes a focus on smaller and mid-size enterprises and in individual travellers.

In the UK, Europcar achieved a pre-tax profit despite tough trading conditions, it said.

For the year to September 30, the car rental company achieved revenue of £62.9 million and a pre-tax profit of £1.26 million.

The UK operation's managing director Marie Barry commented: 'This makes Europcar one of the few car rental players to have made a profit during this challenging economical climate.'

In a statement, the company said: 'In addition to the successful and positive trend in revenue, many other factors testify the tremendous step forward Europcar UK has taken. For example, Europcar has refocused its effort on customer service breaking ground with new targets.

'The new reservation and sales centre, based in Leeds, has also proven to be a real success with an extraordinary rate of call conversion into sales of 40%. Operations have been another area at the forefront of Europcar's efforts, where fleet utilisation has been maximised to achieve significant cost savings.'

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