The Rental Car Industry In 2020: How The Pandemic Has Impacted The Sector

There is an exponential spike in demand expected for car subscriptions, especially considering the current recession

The impact of the pandemic is being felt by businesses across verticals. The threats and challenges that emerged from the worldwide lockdown are immense and insurmountable in many areas. Several industries are on the brink of cessation, with cut downs on wages and workforce becoming the order of the day. This is to say that sectors that are unable to cope with the sudden lockdown are brought to a halt, while those which adapt to the new scenario are still in the picture. But while such is the case, a different story goes for the rental car industry.

COVID-19 has changed the dynamics of our economy indeed. What used to be the norm till last year may well become obsolete in the coming weeks. Therefore, each industry needs to adapt itself to the new normal. The car rental industry, to that end, is well-equipped and prepared to serve its customers. There is an exponential spike in demand expected for car subscriptions, especially considering the current recession, car subscriptions can prove to be a better option than ride-hailing and also as a more affordable and quicker way of acquiring a car, delivering a safe personal mobility replacement.

A growth spurt amidst the pandemic

The practice of carpooling or sharing mobility is long gone. The pandemic-induced lockdown has directed the most significant emphasis on self-quarantine and social distancing. There is growing paranoia about the hygiene and safety of one's immediate surroundings. This is where rental cars come into the scene. People are turning to rental cars that they could utilize for mobility without the pre-pandemic practice of sharing with co-riders. It is not as if the rental service was non-existent in pre-COVID times. It was thriving even before the onset of the pandemic. The global crisis has merely accelerated the adoption of rental cars in ways that were never witnessed before.  At the macroeconomic level, it actually plays really well for car rentals, because you are able to deliver something well which is sanitized, clean, personalized, private as well as something which is affordable.

The rise of the subscription model

The subscription model has become the face of the car rental industry in recent times. Since this model allows the customer to enjoy temporary ownership of the vehicle without worrying about additional costs such as maintenance and insurance premiums, it has become a hit, particularly amongst the younger generation. Service providers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that maximum safety and hygiene is maintained. Along with this, they are also leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as AI and ML to bring in features such as keyless entry systems, 24x7 chatbots, etc., to offer customers an immaculate experience. Besides, even staff on the front lines are subjected to mandatory training in safety protocols. 

Car subscription is simply the most affordable and quickest way of acquiring a car which is also a safe personal mobility option. Imagine getting a hatchback or an SUV delivered to your doorstep in one day flat with Zero down payment! We have multiple options for a subscription but the shift in demand has been towards one, three, and six months. Car subscriptions will continue to evolve and grow into more flexible plans and longer durations of leases ending in 12, 24, or 36 months. Even in the post-pandemic world, the rental car industry has advantages to leverage fuelled by the demand that is at an all-time high.  The prime reason is that car ownership does not come hassle-free. One has to incur maintenance expenses and problems along the lines of inadequate parking space, volatile fuel prices, and rising insurance premiums amongst others. All these inconveniences are rooted in the minds of people who entertain buying a new car and are put off by the same. As such, the craze over purchasing news cars has been declining in recent times. With an ever-increasing populace across urban spaces, a shared mobility solution emerges as the only logical step towards a sustainable model. Additionally, the pandemic has resulted in several people losing their jobs, putting a strain on their income, and limiting it to essentials such as food and pharmaceuticals. With shorter lock-in periods and nominal pricing, subscription models are an easier option. Moreover, the needle has now moved from ownership to the experience. Subscribing a car allows one to have a seamless and safe experience. Also, for those who like to experiment with cars and prefer variety, subscription-based models are the perfect choice since you need not stick to one car for a long period of time.

In truth, the subscription model is the best way to maintain privacy, flexibility, and hygiene. To that end, subscribing to a rental is the most logical step for anyone who is looking to enjoy ownership of a vehicle without incurring extra costs. Moreover, players in the rental space are going the extra mile to deliver top-notch user experience for customers. They are giving a face-lift to their wide array of services using technology, thereby making the subscription model an evergreen solution even in the face of a pandemic.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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