Bumper year at Dollar Thrifty

SAM ELTIBI, executive director, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Mena & Asia Pacific talks about business in 2010 and what’s in store for the future.

Are all GCC countries now covered?

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group has been in the region since 1985 and we have a total of 21 franchisees in the Mena and Asia Pacific region.

We are still looking into Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for full coverage of the GCC area.

How was business in 2010 compared to 2009?

2010 was a bumper year for Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. We opened outlets for Dollar and Thrifty in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, Oman and Turkey. Business has been a lot more strategic this year, focusing on sales strategy, customer service and quality units. In other words, customers needed value for money.

Was there a shift to smaller models in light of the financial uncertainty?

There was a shift to smaller cars in 2009 to early 2010, however we see customers are back to their preferred choice of larger cars - saloons and 4WDs.

Are any further expansions planned for 2011?

We are always keen on capitalising on business opportunities in the Mena region, with the great demand we have been facing the last few months, we are looking into further expansion for 2011. We will be looking into Jordan, Libya and Morocco.

Are there any new trends emerging that you have observed?

There is an increase of shorter and more frequent holidays due to the presence of budget airlines in the region and their increase in destinations to and within the region. This will be one of the main drivers of car rental next year.