With only 30 cars, Europcar Mexico started as a franchise of Europcar International in 2003. Ten years later, the company has grown to over 50 cities throughout Mexico in both tourist locations (Cancun, Los Cabos, Acapulco) and commercial cities such as Mexico City, Monterrey and Ciudad Juarez.
Omar Garcia, director of sales for Europcar Mexico, talks about how the company has grown in the last 10 years and how it caters to both domestic and international customers.
What's your total fleet size?
How many locations do you have and in what types of areas?
We have 90 stations around the country, including all international airports and major cities.
How did the business start?
Europcar Mexico started operations in Mexico with one single station in Cancun and 30 vehicles of total fleet.
What are your primary sources of rental customers?
The primary sources of business are the domestic market followed by the U.S. customers and customers coming from Europe.
Are you an affiliate of any kind?
We are proud to be a recognized franchisee of Europcar International, a top rental car brand in Europe.
Are you pursuing new sources of business/customers?
We are in the process of pursuing new emerging markets like Brazil and Russia who are starting to travel to Mexico.
How has the car rental market in your area evolved in the past 10 years?
We would describe growth as slow but consistent with a huge margin to grow — if we compare the total rental car fleet that we have versus other countries like Brazil.
Describe your specific marketing efforts and what the payback has been so far?
As of 2008, 80% of our marketing is focused on Internet advertising, such as SEO and SEM campaigns that allow us to get better knowledge of our marketing efforts.
How do you buy cars?
We bought cars directly with car manufacturers. As of today, the rental car market in Mexico is taking advantage of the variety of vehicles that are being developed here in Mexico.
How do you sell your cars?
We sell our cars to different car dealers and agencies from different brands in the country.
How long do you keep cars in fleet?
What are your biggest challenges with fleet?
Distributing our fleet happens to be one of the disadvantages that we have versus other countries. The large distance between cities like Cancun and Cabo is a perfect sample of the challenge that we face.
What are your popular rental vehicles?
The Chevrolet Aveo on the intermediate category and the Jetta Style or the Dodge Avenger on the standard category have become very popular for the customers. It is not a coincidence that two of these vehicles are also top sellers for the car industry in Mexico.
What types of counter products are popular?
The GPS is the most popular extra accessory that customers request in every counter/station.
Are there a lot of independent car rental companies where you are?
All international brands have presence here in Mexico, and there's a huge number of independent car rentals as well. All these competitors are pushing the rental car industry into a mature market that continues to have a promising future.
How are you surviving the current economic climate? And what is that economic climate like currently for you in your country?
We are always looking for a varied mix of clients from different sources/countries that will help us reduce risks when the economy of a country struggles.
What are your biggest challenges right now in the business?
The structure, maintenance and security of our highways have become a threat for our international travelers, and it’s consequently one of the main reasons why it’s not growing as fast as in other countries.
What does the car rental market over the next five years in your country look like?
The market will continue to grow in small but constant steps. We are assuming at least a 5% growth rate every year.
Do you have any legal threats that are challenging how you do business?
Any new laws or rules you must abide by?
Where do you think the biggest growth potential is in your business?
To operate in your country, do you have to pay any special car rental taxes or fees?
What would you like to see change in the industry in your country? Worldwide?
In our country, we would like to see a better infrastructure for our highways. Global and worldwide changes in the rental car industry also depend on the ability to have a correct infrastructure of highways.
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