Fleet News

Europcar puts focus on customer service

DAILY rental group Europcar is hoping to emulate its 2003 success with a strategic focus on customer service this year.

The plans were revealed at Europcar's annual press conference in Paris last month as the group's chief executive officer, Salvatore Catania, explained its priorities for 2004.

Catania said: 'We have set three essential objectives for 2004: To increase car rental turnover by more than the average in the market, to give priority to the quality of our service through our 'Global Quality Service' programme and to be the best performer in the European market.'

Europcar announced a 40% increase in pre-tax profits, with turnover up by 1.7% for 2003, (Fleet NewsNet, March 11) and to maintain such an increase this year, Catania said Europcar's focus on customer service would improve productivity for the group.

He said: 'In periods of crisis, many groups forget customer loyalty. For Europcar, quality is a constant objective, which is the reason behind our 'Global Quality Service'. By implementing this, we can improve productivity for the future. To increase our turnover we are going to continue our policy of segmentation, which means we will have a presence in all the active segments of our sector. The products and services we offer will be adapted to these target areas but we will concentrate on the leisure sector.'

Although Europcar has achieved its objectives for market position and profitability for 2003, the group's chief financial officer said it was vital for the group to continue with its success into 2004.

New products, new commercial partnerships and new franchises are all on the cards. Chief financial officer Gerhard Noack said: 'We will continue to develop the commercial partnerships to ensure we have a business that is ongoing whatever the situation and we will continue to launch new products and services.

'We will also pursue our franchise strategy into more countries and continue to improve productivity so that our customers benefit from a more efficient and more human service.'

However, despite having clear objectives for 2004, Catania is prepared for competition to mount in the daily rental industry.

He said: 'Competition between the major rental companies will certainly not be any less and, in fact, we fully expect it to intensify.'

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