A new trend could well be emerging in Dubai – that of the economy car. According to Sam ElTibi of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (DTAG), the region has seen this shift in customer demand.
“Lately, with the drop in tourist arrivals and banks tightening credit grant conditions, we have seen a new trend in which people who are not able to get credit to buy a car are turning to car rental companies for leases,” he said.
“People in spite of the recession are still taking short holidays. We expect people to take shorter trips but still travel.”
Duncan Peat of Budget Rent A Car believes that for the UAE there has definitely been a move towards economy cars, but this was mainly in the long term rental market. “There is no real difference in the short term market with strong demand for medium size saloons, 4WDS and luxury cars. It is likely that 2009 will bring a change to that pattern as everyone looks to cut costs,” he said.
Thierry Domballe of Avis Europe, Mediterranean and Middle East said, ”In the car rental activity, having the right fleet is surely one of the most critical success criteria, together with its utilisation. The fleet is constantly evaluated to ensure we have the right mix, and the right number of cars, to meet customers’ expectations.”
“If the trend has been recently an increased demand in smaller car groups, there is also demand in higher car groups, and some countries have developed luxury segments to cater for it,” he said.
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