Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Avis and Hertz should launch their own Uber"

From GigaOm:
The sharing economy leads to more efficient utilization of assets and capital, thereby generating superior economic and environmental returns. Airbnb allows for the same real estate to be used more effectively. Rent the Runway does this for dresses. This same principle can be applied to the massive fleets of rental car companies — there ought to be a way for the sharing economy to more efficiently utilize these cars.
The car rental industry is an old industry (Sixt, with a fleet of 3 cars, was established in 1912). The industry has millions of cars in its fleets all around the world. A significant portion of revenues is driven by business travel during the weekdays (leading to low-priced weekend specials). Revenues are also seasonal, with winter being leaner than summer. Fleet utilization in North America hovers between 60 and 80 percent (source: Avis 10-K, Hertz 10-K).
Car rental companies like Avis and Hertz have bulk purchase arrangements to buy vehicles, solid insurance contracts, discounts on bulk gasoline purchases and so on. They can easily use these economies of scale and leverage their fleets to launch their own versions of an Uber-style service.

One option is that Avis could launch its own app and allows drivers with their own cars or cars rented from Avis (on special terms for short periods) to provide ride-sharing services on this app’s network. Avis would keep a portion of the driver’s fare as well as increase its rental receipts.

Another option is that Avis could create special rental offerings for Uber drivers who want to drive for Uber without using their own car (drivers who are college students, drivers from families with shared cars, or drivers with old cars). In this case, Avis would make money only from the incremental rental receipts.

Here’s what the economics could look like: Let’s say there are two million cars across fleets in car rental companies in North America utilized at 70 percent at an average gross revenue of $40/day. (Benchmarks derived from SEC filings of Avis and Hertz.) This gives us about 220 million car-days [(0.30*2,000,000)*365] where these cars are not used....MORE