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How is the car hire industry moving forward?

posted by Chris Valentine

While we have nearly all used it at some point, car hire can be an infuriating experience. Whether it’s renting a vehicle while on holiday to take in some new sights, or hiring a car for a business trip, this form of transport can often be a hassle to organise.

We used to have to ring up a company during office hours to book a vehicle – and face hefty fines if it was returned outside of these hours. Taxis are another form of car hire which have often been very annoying and unreliable. However, nowadays there are many alternatives that are allowing us to reduce the stress of hiring a car. In this article, we explore how the car hire industry is advancing…

Audi on Demand

According to Audi’s website, you simply have to ‘pin your location and get the Audi of your dreams delivered to you’. This is the German manufacturer’s newest app and is helping the hire-drive experience advance. Whether you fancy an A3, A5 or an Audi Q2 (to name a few), the seamless digital booking procedure allows you to confirm your booking online in a space of minutes. It’s perfect for those who have a last-minute trip suddenly planned, as your vehicle can be ready for collection in as little as 30 minutes. You can also reserve your car for a specific time.

The service includes concierge delivery, full comprehensive insurance, unlimited mileage and Audi 24-hour roadside assistance, meaning you can relax in the knowledge that every aspect of your hire is covered. Once you have finished your trip, you are able to return the vehicle to a concierge at a location that is convenient to you.

Carpooling

While this may seem like a weird addition to ‘car hire’, sites such as Blablacar offer you the chance to rent a space in a car – or rent out a space in yours. It gives you the opportunity to find travellers who will be completing the same journey as yourself, meaning that the costs are considerably cut.

According to research, it’s anticipated that 18 million people will use car-sharing services by 2025. This is almost threefold from 2017’s six million users. In London, Zipcar has almost seven times as many rentable cars in London as Starbucks. This means that half of the city’s population find themselves within a five-minute walk of this type of hire car.

Cars-as-a-Service (CaaS)

If you want to go a short distance, CaaS is going to be a revelation in the car hire/taxi sector. Expected to be rolled out by 2025, this driverless sensation is anticipated to reduce mobility costs while also offering a safer alternative to if a human was driving. The ride-sharing service will allow smart device owners to book a driverless car through an app and quickly get to where they need to be.

Online taxi booking

Following Uber’s emphatic arrival into the world of hire cars, the taxi industry is going from strength to strength. In an industry that could often be frustrating due to taxi companies giving unrealistic waiting times, Uber – and now most taxi companies – offer you the chance to track where your vehicle is, giving you real-time wait times.

Not only this, but if you find yourself caught short on cash, the apps allow you to pay by card without even removing your card from your wallet. By entering your details into your app, you will know a rough estimate for the cost of your journey, as well as being able to connect your card to your booking.

Personal hire

Personal Contract Hire (PCH) allows you to drive a new vehicle over a sustained amount of time. It provides a cost-effective route to a new vehicle without facing the large drops in value you’d see if you bought the vehicle outright. Benefits of personal hire include low monthly repayments, a flexible contract and fixed monthly payments.

As we can see, the hire car sector is becoming a lot more user friendly, which will help people to migrate to the services. With more focus on customer service, the sector will continue to grow, encouraging more people to leave their own vehicle at home.

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