The Car Rental Industry in South Africa
The car rental industry has been significantly affected by the pandemic and resulting travel restrictions and decline in disposable income. The main business channels for car rentals are corporate, government, insurance replacement and leisure, and demand from all of these avenues declined markedly since March 2020. Car rental companies have been able to partially offset losses by reducing fleet, branch and employee numbers, and have benefited from an increase in second-hand vehicle prices. The industry’s fleet had more than halved by July 2021 from February 2020. The sector, which is described as mature, has been under pressure for the past two years as brokerages and online intermediaries have driven prices down.
Car rental companies are looking to take advantage of a growing trend of customers who would rather rent than own a vehicle. Ride-sharing, digital aggregators and car subscriptions are providing car rental businesses with alternative revenue streams. Ride-sharing, where car owners rent out their own vehicles, gained popularity in recent years, but was slowed by the pandemic. Digital aggregators account for a large share of bookings. Subscriptions, where vehicles are hired out on short-term leases, usually on a month-to-month, allow vehicle users to change from one car to another from one month to the next.
This report focuses on the South African car rental industry, with comprehensive information on the state of the industry, effects of the pandemic and the decline in tourism and travel, trends, corporate actions and developments. There are profiles of 14 companies including the major players such as Barloworld (Avis and Budget), Motus (Tempest) and CFAO Motors (Hertz), other established companies in the sector such as Woodford Group and Pace Car Rental, and players in the ride-sharing, digital aggregation and car subscription space such as Inclusion South Africa (Planet24), Flexclub and RentMyRide.