Nearly one in five drivers (18%) plan to rent a vehicle in the next year, with more than one-third (34%) renting for the first time, according to research from Zegami, a U.K.-based data visualization platform that has recently developed a damage identification system with Ebbon Group, an automotive technology solutions provider.
Zegami commissioned market research company Consumer Intelligence to survey 1,040 people across the U.K.
These findings highlight the growing demand in the car rental market, with customers under 45 years old leading the way. More than a quarter (26%) of under-45s plan to rent – 54% will be first-time renters. According to the survey, demand is being driven by vacationers but also by people considering ditching their car to save money and help the environment.
While this is encouraging news for the car rental market, the survey also revealed concerns renters have regarding vehicle damage.
Vehicle damage is a worry among renters, according to the survey. In the past five years, one in eight (12%) renters said their rental vehicle was damaged before they drove it away. More than a quarter (27%) said the damage had not been properly recorded by the car rental company, while nearly one in 20 (4%) reported that the rental companies tried to blame them for the damage.
On the other hand, two-thirds of people who have damaged rental cars (while driving them) said the rental company did not find the damage when they returned the vehicle.
“Renting a car is becoming increasingly popular and helps save money as well as cutting emissions as fewer drivers own vehicles,” said Roger Noble, CEO and founder of Zegami. “But it is a common concern that drivers can get unfairly blamed for damage to cars and end up facing repair bills. The same applies to rental firms if they don’t record damage to cars. Data imaging and machine learning enables both drivers and rental firms to be confident that damage is accurately recorded, and our joint venture Ebbon Intelligence will have a wide range of practical applications in the automotive sector.”