Madrid, July 16, 2009 – After a large expansion in the housing market, the rate of growth in the rental car industry decelerated in 2008, leading towards a decline in the industry in 2009. The increase in the time period of the rental contracts, the reduction of insurance coverage, and the competitive conditions in the used vehicles sector are some of the indicators that the industry is trying to face under the difficult conditions of the current market.
The car rental industry in the last few years has experienced noticeable growth, paralleled by the companies’ tendencies toward the elimination of services that are not a part of the core business. As such, the car rental industry has registered a semiannual growth rate of 9% from 2005 to 2008 with a total of 572,000 units. Unfavorable economic conditions, however, have caused a significant decline, slowing in growth to 2.7% in 2008.
According to vehicle types, the rental car industry in December of 2008 can be segmented as follows: 75% tourist vehicles (e.g., all terrain vehicles), 22.9% commercial vehicles and 2.1% industrial vehicles.
The industry can be categorized in the following market segments: 86.9% business to business, 6.5% professionals or private, and 5.6% government clients. The demand proceeding from small and medium size companies is seeing the most dynamic growth with significant increase in total fleet transactions.
The strong expansion in the last few years has allowed vehicle renting to reach a 6.7% penetration of the professionals and businesses segment which account for 31% of the overall market.
A total of 70 companies make up the total amount of transactions in the Spanish rental car industry, of which a dozen specialize completely or partially in industrial vehicles. The most prevalent suppliers – Lease Plan, ALD Automotive, Bansalease, Arval and BBUA Finanzia AutoRenting – together make up nearly 55% of the rental car industry.
Because of a decline in demand, shown by the number of potential clients and the lower turnover rate of the existing rental car fleets, rental car companies will be likely purchasing fewer automobiles through the end of the 2009 calendar year.
As a response to the need for their clients to cut costs, strategies adopted by the largest companies emphasize longer contracts or renting used vehicles. The prognosis is that these companies might favor maintaining the total number of fleet transactions at 570,000, 0.3% less than the previous year.
Vehicle renting oriented to small and medium size businesses will be the future pillar of growth in the industry. A progressive increase in market penetration is expected by services provided for professionals and the self-employed.
By Carmen Ribera