Avis Gears Up for a more Connected Car Rental Business World
April 19, 2019
Company VP sees future in digitizing to reinvent its business
If the future of the car rental business is connectivity, Avis is planning to plug in big-time. That was the message delivered by Jeffrey Kaelin, the company’s vice president of product development during the International Car Rental Show, held April 12-14 in Las Vegas.
“As we move forward, connected cars enable us to have on-demand, real-time inventories of our assets,” he said. “We’ll know where every car is located and what it’s doing.”
Avis is also looking at a variety of enabling mobility solutions to increase customer convenience. Currently, the company’s client base visits an office to get the vehicle, although they can book online beforehand regardless of location. But Kaelin predicts it won’t be long before technology can be leveraged to make a vehicle available at a preferred location and even use a smartphone to start the car.
While customers benefit from convenience, Avis anticipates the company will improve its bottom line through efficiency savings once connected car technology is fully operational in its fleet. Once fully implemented, new innovations will be designed to save time, cut down on costs and provide data that can benefit how Avis can be run more efficiently down the road.
Kaelin pointed out one time-consuming task that would be eliminated right away. As part of their daily routine, Avis staff at every company outlet walks onto the lot to physically tally what’s in the fleet inventory.
They stand on the front bumper of a car, look out across the rental facility, and they count each and every car,” he added.
With a technology rollout predicted to happen as early as 2020, connected cars will also have the ability to recognize the profiles of regular clients. With that information, the vehicles will be able to automatically adjust the driver’s seat, interior temperature and even select the radio station according to a customer’s preferences.
That same connectivity will benefit Avis in its vehicular upkeep as staff will be able to monitor car conditions from tire pressure and engine oil life to engine maintenance issues right to the source of any performance problems that may crop up. A connected car will also be capable of sending out an automatic service alert, which is predicted to save millions in servicing and even fuel costs.
Other amenities that a connected Avis car will feature includes data on road conditions, traffic congestion, parking space availability and even shops and other venues of interest to the client.
“As we continue to work our way from there to autonomous, we see that the in-car experience will really differentiate in the level of service,” said Kaelin.
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