More Dealerships Recognizing Value Of Car Rentals
Firms from Illinois to Iceland alter business models for success
Arguably, the car rental industry has been a boon for dealerships for years as a way for automakers to generate some revenue during periods when sales have been flat. That was the case during the first quarter of 2019, when more than half a million vehicles were sold by automakers to car rental firms in the wake of a slowdown in revenue coming in from dealerships.
But a newer twist on the business model is also gaining traction in the U.S., with many dealers opting to rent out those vehicles themselves, dubbing it a transaction akin to an extended test drive that could last for three days or so. Case in point was a Nissan dealership in Illinois came upon the notion to rent out their cars to customers interested in perhaps buying a car. And while there may have been a few who eventually walked out of the showroom with a Nissan purchase, the in-house car rental scheme has already accounted for 10 percent of the dealership’s revenue.
Those are but two scenarios. However, UK website Business Motoring has declared that stronger ties between automakers, dealerships and car rental companies would ensure greater financial security for all involved, pointing to what it believes has been a neglected area: repairs and maintenance.
“Partnering with a car rental agency increases the customer service potential of your dealership while also building ties with other business areas,” noted the auto webzine. It pointed to a Toyota dealership in Iceland that also services vehicles being dropped off to get fixed and works with a local car rental agency to ensure its clientele conveniently has access to wheels until the mechanics get the job done.
Customers still have to foot the bill for the rental, but it’s the element of convenience to have a spare handy that adds to a more satisfied base, argues the article. A few dealerships even sell pre-rental coverage with every vehicle sold to take the sting out of the rental.
Closer to home, for dealerships pondering over whether to adopt a car rental stream is worth the effort, Bluebird’s LoanerTrack software is designed to remove such doubts. The car rental software keeps track of the vehicle’s usage to provide updated fleet status reports, analyzes maintenance schedules and evaluates performance should the issue of reimbursements arise. LoanerTrack, integrated with RentWorks, can also calculate warranty claims and customer related charges to arrive at the right rental fee and can account for any vehicle in the fleet to determine which one’s are available. The beauty is that all the factors involved in a dealership’s car rental transaction are neatly recorded on a single screen with all the pertinent information printed out on a concise and reader-friendly form.
While the relationship nature of automakers, dealerships and car rentals will take on many different forms depending on market demand, the infrastructure is already in place for all the players to take advantage of such an opportunity.