Avis on Demand, the very short term rental

Avis, one of the largest car rental companies, is launching “Avis on Demand”, a car rental service for a few minutes or hours. “My car where I want, when I want, when I want, how I want! “, racole the slogan. This service, which is currently only available in Paris and Île-de-France, faces competition from other players, such as Mobizen, and soon from Autolib’.

In these times when the car budget is on the rise, car sharing has its future ahead of it! Next December, Paris should inaugurate Autolib’. Managed by the Bolloré group and modelled on the Velib’ principle, this service will allow a motorist to rent an electric vehicle for a few minutes or a few hours, which he or she can “abandon” after use at one of the many terminals scattered throughout the capital.

The very short term market does not leave heavy goods vehicles in car rental insensitive. Proof of this is Avis, which has just launched its “Avis on Demand” service, which is currently available at around 40 relay points (car parks) in Paris and Île-de-France. Not really a novelty, but a revised and corrected version of a service that existed since 2007 under the name Okigo. As a partner in the case, the Vinci group withdrew last February, leaving Avis alone in charge.

The objective of “Avis on Demand”? “Satisfy the occasional need for rental in urban areas […] and offer a mode of travel that combines flexibility and economy”. For “flexibility”, and compared to Autolib’, it is not easy. Because with “Avis on Demand”, it is impossible, for example, to rent a car in the centre of Paris to go to a barbecue at a friend’s house in the suburbs, to leave it at a relay point and then to take another one for the return. The vehicle must be returned to the place where it was taken (otherwise, Avis receives an indemnity of €200!), which, in the example given above, requires the tenant to keep it for several hours when he is not using it.

As for “economy”, “Avis on Demand” offers vehicles “from” 9 € per hour (the rate varies according to the chosen category). Autolib’ provides various pricing options. For example, the 1 year subscription will be charged 12 € per month and the first half hour of rental 5 € (4 € the second and 6 € the following ones). In addition, the count will be done by the minute after the first 20 indivisible minutes, where Avis requires a rental of at least 1 hour.

Rates that can also be compared to those of Mobizen. This other very short-term player also operates in Paris by renting vehicles “from 9 € per hour”. Rates valid 7 days a week, which is not the case at “Avis on Demand” since they are increased on weekends (12 € instead of 9 €, for example). Another difference: when choosing the most economical category, at Avis, the customer gets into a Smart Fortwo, while Mobizen gives him the choice between a larger Mercedes A-Class and a Fiat 500. In the end, however, Mobizen is penalized by high membership and registration fees (€100 + €150 security deposit) while, on the Avis side, the service is accessible thanks to a free in-house card (Preferred card).

The rate concocted by Avis for each vehicle category (they are all equipped with a GPS) includes maintenance, assistance, insurance, fuel and a 250-kilometre package. The additional kilometre is charged €0.50 and the excess repurchase costs an additional €1 per hour of rental. A supplement of €1 per hour is also applied to young drivers under 25 years of age (€30 if they keep the car for 24 hours)!

With “Avis on Demand”, vehicles can be booked “7 days a week, 24 hours a day and up to 5 minutes before departure” by Internet, by phone or at a rental station. But if the customer chooses one of the last two solutions, he will have to pay a 3 € fee. There is no small profit!

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