Several small time rent-a-car companies in Dubai and Sharjah are planning to reduce their charges after the recent price hike in petrol to attract customers and make an attempt at saving their businesses.
“We feel that after the petrol hike, people might prefer to rent cars instead of owning them, because of the soaring maintenance costs of the vehicles and the increase in the amount needed to fill a tank,” said Hani Abdul Latif of Al Safi Rent-a-Car in Sharjah.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Donn Wowo, who owns a 2005 Nissan Sunny says: “I have noticed a difference of Dh10 for my car’s full tank since the increase. Earlier, I used to spend Dh41 to fill up the fuel tank, now it’s jumped straight to Dh52. The consumption depends on the distance I travel. Because I am a sales and marketing person, I need to travel all over the emirates and use my car for that purpose. My travel expenditure has gone up drastically,” he said adding, “I might as well rent a car because I cannot afford this much petrol plus maintenance expenses. In this way, the maintenance will be carried out by the rent-a-car companies.”
“The market feeling is that people might also be paying the same amount as taxi fare, so they might prefer to rent-a-car instead,” added Hani.
Describing the renting rates of small cars, Hani said, “At present, I charge Dh70 for a Toyota Corolla 1993 model, but I am going to reduce it to Dh65. Because the petrol is the responsibility of the client, so I will reduce the car rent so as to make it affordable,” he said, adding that special rates were also available if the car was hired on a long-term basis i.e. one month or more.
But for customers of companies leasing out bigger cars including limousines and also offering chauffeur services, prices will see an upward trend. “At present, we’re not going to increase the rents because the cars are pre-booked,” said Mahmoud Akram of Auto Plus. “But from next month, the hiring charges for chauffeur driven cars — that are rented with fuel charges included – will definitely go up Dh100-200,” he said. “Because the petrol will now cost us an extra Dh70 for bigger cars, we will charge it to the customer and let them know about it,” he added.
Giving details of the rates, Akram said that extra Dh150 was charged for a car hired with a driver for up to 10 hours and Dh25-30 every extra hour. “It is the customer who will be affected because for smaller cars, they have to fill up the petrol. We might see a drop in business for bigger cars if the fuel prices further increase,” he said. “Compared to Europe, petrol and rent-a-car is still cheaper in Dubai,” he added.
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