订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业

网约车大行其道,这家汽车租赁公司该如何逃出生天?

Phil Wahba 2019年10月17日

自动驾驶汽车和网约车服务可能会让汽车租赁行业没落,或为其带来巨大的商机。让我们看看Avis Budget是如何应对的。

图片来源:Photograph by Christopher Lane for Fortune Magazine

世间还有比在机场租车更糟糕的体验吗?旅客在经历了长时间的飞行之后登上拥挤的摆渡车,然后在柜台前加入排队大军,等待你的将是保单和GPS设备的强行推销。(专业建议:手机中已经内置了GPS模块。)接着就是上停车场,在无数辆相同的轿车中寻找属于自己的那辆车。尤其当我们提到租车行业时,说句不好听的话,在当今这个社会,科技已经大大提升了大多数常规性流程的速度,但消费情报公司J.D. Power 发现,2017年提取租赁车辆所需的平均时间反而比2013年增加了两分钟。

如果你希望看到整个业务模式能够一夜间消失,那么,租车行业的很多员工亦会失业。这些公司希望,不久之后,人们无需在柜台前办理的各种复杂手续。等到了停车场之后,人们可以用智能手机启动汽车大灯,这样便可以轻易找到自己的那辆车。你可以用手机开车锁,启动汽车,然后驾车离开,无需在出口加入另一个等候队伍,在出口处等待拿备胎或给轮胎放气。这还是你去停车场的情形:未来某一天,租车公司可能会直接让自动驾驶汽车前往机场去接你。

Avis Budget公司的首席执行官拉里·德·肖恩表示:“在未来,我们无需在柜台接待客户!泵恳患易獬倒径荚诔飧龇较蚺,但作为美国租车行业三巨头(其他两个是赫兹和Enterprise)中市场份额最小的企业,Avis正在集中一切力量对其60万台车进行升级,并让这个年收入达90亿美元的业务能够与时俱进。

Avis Budget旗下有两个以公司名称命名的品牌,以及Payless Car Rental和汽车共享先驱Zipcar。在过去18个月中,Avis接连与大型科技公司的一些知名品牌达成合作关系。2017年6月,公司与谷歌母公司Alphabet旗下的自动驾驶汽车部门Waymo达成合作协议,为其不断增长的自动驾驶汽车车队提供管理服务。不久之后,它又与亚马逊和谷歌结盟,为的是让客户能够使用语音技术进行预订或改变订单。今年8月,Avis宣布,公司将开始向Lyft的司机提供租赁数千辆汽车。

Are there any experiences more joyless than renting a car at the airport? Cranky after a long flight, you clamber onto a crowded shuttle bus. Then you join the line at the counter, waiting your turn to endure a hard sell for insurance policies and a GPS device. (Pro tip: You already have a GPS built into your phone.) Then it’s off to the lot to hunt down your car in a sea of identical sedans. It says something particularly unflattering about this industry that, in a society in which technology makes most routines faster, the average wait time to pick up a rental car got two minutes longer between 2013 and 2017, according to consumer insights firm J.D. Power.

If you’d like to see this whole business model disappear in a cloud of smoke—well, so would a lot of people in the rental-car business. Before long, they hope, you’ll be able to skip the counter-kiosk complex entirely. Once you get to the lot, you’ll use your smartphone to activate your car’s headlights so you can easily find it. Your phone will unlock it and turn on the ignition. You’ll drive off without having to go through yet another line at the don’t-back-up-or-we’ll-puncture-your-tires exit gate. And that’s if you go to the lot at all: Someday, the rental agency may send a self-driving car to pick you up at your terminal.

“In the future, we don’t need to see you at the counter,” says Avis Budget CEO Larry De Shon. Every big rental-car company is taking steps in this direction, but Avis, the smallest of the industry’s “Big Three” by U.S. market share (behind Hertz and Enterprise), is making the most concerted effort to update its 600,000-vehicle fleet—and protect its $9-billion-a-year business from obsolescence.

In the past 18 months, Avis Budget, which owns those two namesake brands along with Payless Car Rental and car-sharing pioneer Zipcar, has struck one partnership after another with Big Tech’s boldface names. In June 2017 it landed a deal with Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous-vehicle division, to manage its growing fleet of self-driving cars. Soon after, it teamed up with Amazon and Google so customers could use voice tech to make or change reservations. And this August, Avis announced it would begin renting thousands of cars to Lyft drivers.

Avis Budget的首席执行官拉里·肖恩正努力在2020年之前,将公司旗下60万辆车均连入互联网。图片来源:Courtesy of Avis

作为所有这些合作的基础,Avis在新泽西州的巴斯盘尼开展了一个更大的项目:在2020年之前将车队所有车辆连入互联网。这个截止日期比其他任何竞争对手都要早,而且此举对于一家有着250种不同车型、仅美国网点就达到了4400个的公司来说确实不是一件容易事。但这是一个十分紧迫的任务,因为要应对汽车行业的巨变,汽车互联是一项基础性工作。

一开始,机场的这种无等待式体验便取决于互联。它将帮助Avis通过提升汽车的服务时间、削减维护成本以及向租车人推销广告和服务,从租车业务中榨取更多的营收。最重要的是,互联所提供的基础设施将为更多的自动驾驶汽车提供支持,这项科技势必将颠覆整个汽车租赁行业。

股东自然很乐意看到这种颠覆:在过去三年中,拜股东所赐,Avis和赫兹的股价降幅超过了50%。(Enterprise是一家私营公司。)利润率停滞不前,新的竞争压力从四面八方涌了过来:像Uber和Lyft这样的网约车服务正在招揽租车租赁公司的商业客户,而大型汽车制造商正在思考将自身发展成为“移动服务公司”,也就是直接向消费者提供租车服务。汽车行业的资深分析师尼尔·阿布拉姆斯说:“在未来五年中,谷歌、Uber、Avis、赫兹和福特将步入同一行业!

在上述种种局面的围攻下,Avis已经来到了不进则殆的重要关头。在这种环境下,其竞争对手也会采取激进的举措。(确实,赫兹抢在Avis之前与Lyft达成了合作关系)。首席创新官亚瑟·奥都拿说:“在这种形势下,我们没法在下一个10年中一成不变地经营下去。留给我们的时间不多了!

Underlying all those partnerships, there’s a bigger project at Parsippany, N.J.–based Avis: an endeavor to connect the bulk of its fleet to the Internet by 2020. That’s a more aggressive deadline than any of its rivals have embraced. And it’s no small task for a company that offers 250 different makes of vehicles, scattered across almost 4,400 locations in the Americas alone. But it’s an urgent one, because car connectivity is a cornerstone of the industry’s efforts to keep up with the automobile sector’s dramatic changes.

That hassle-free airport experience, for starters, depends on connectivity. It’ll help Avis wring more revenue out of its cars by increasing their time in service, cutting maintenance costs, and pitching ads and services to drivers. Above all, connectivity will provide the infrastructure to support more self-driving cars—a technology that will inevitably shake up the rental industry.

Shareholders would certainly like to see a shake-up: They’ve driven Avis’s and Hertz’s stock down by more than 50% over the past three years. (Enterprise is privately held.) Profit margins are stagnant, and new competitive pressure is coming from all sides: Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are wooing rental companies’ business customers, and big automakers are contemplating a future as “mobility companies” that rent cars directly to consumers. “In next five years you’re going to have Google, Uber, Avis, Hertz, and Ford all in the same business,” says Neil Abrams, a veteran car-industry analyst.

For Avis, it adds up to an evolve-or-die moment, one in which its rivals will be just as aggressive (indeed, Hertz had a Lyft partnership before Avis did). “This isn’t one where we can sit back for the next 10 years,” says chief innovation officer Arthur Ordu?a. “We don’t have a heck of a lot of time.”

***

Avis自成立以来便在很多方面一直处于领先地位。公司成立于1946年,那时航空旅行还远未发展成为主流。公司成立的初衷在于,人们在机场也应该能租到车。1987年,Avis引入了无需在柜台还钥匙的流程,并借此开创了业界先河;1996年,Avis成为了首家提供在线预订服务的企业。

然而在近些年,租车公司在创新方面一直以龟速前进。排名前三的租车公司占据了美国租赁市。ㄊ兄300亿美元)94%的份额,但这一主导地位并未转化为定价权。这些巨头均提供来自于同一汽车制造商的汽车,因此在差异化方面难以有所建树。像GPS和路费支付设备这类杂项所贡献的收入一直在下降,甚至这些附加设备都让客户感到恼火不已。结果:IBIS World预计,2023年之前租车行业美国营收的年增速仅为2%,远低于旅行行业的普遍水平。

Avis也未能逃脱这一厄运。2010年,公司每辆车在单位出租日的收入为41.7美元,这个数字在2017年降至40.03美元。没有一家汽车租赁公司在客户调查中拿到了高分,但Avis在这一方面的排名略低于其竞争对手,因此,科技重塑举措对于Avis来说尤为重要,公司也希望借助这一机会来重振业务,并让客户再次慷慨解囊。J.D. Power的旅行业务负责人说:“客户满意度的一个重要因素将取决于能够让客户快速拿到所租车辆的技术!

Avis has been ahead of the curve on many occasions since its debut. The company was founded in 1946—well before air travel went mainstream—on the idea that rental cars should be available at airports. In 1987, Avis was the first rental-car company to introduce a key-drop return process that bypassed the counter; in 1996, it was the first to offer online reservations.

But in recent years, being the Most Innovative Rental-Car Company has been like being the Fastest Turtle. The Big Three have a combined 94% share of the $30 billion U.S. rental market, but that dominance hasn’t translated into pricing power. The giants all offer vehicles from the same carmakers, so they struggle to differentiate themselves. Income from incidentals like GPS and toll-paying devices has waned, even as those add-ons have annoyed customers. The upshot: IBIS World expects the industry’s U.S. revenues to grow just 2% annually through 2023, far slower than the broader travel industry.

Avis hasn’t been immune to the malaise. In 2010, the company earned $41.70 per car per “rental day,” by 2017, that had fallen to $40.03. None of the rental companies scores well on customer surveys, but Avis ranks slightly below its rivals on that front. That makes its tech reinvention that much more critical, as a chance to revitalize its business and a path back into customers’ good graces. “Tech that gets me into the car faster will be a big factor in molding customer satisfaction,” says Michael Taylor, J.D. Power’s head of travel.

Avis 在2013年对Zipcar的收购有助于其开展汽车共享业务实验,并完善其应用。图片来源:Courtesy of Avis

Avis从2013年便开始为科技兴业的举措做铺垫工作。那一年,Avis斥资5亿美元收购了Zipcar。这家初创企业通过散布于各大街区和市中心的自助服务站点,提供按小时租车的服务。Avis的这笔收购对于一些同行来说似乎是一个不切实际的举措,当时,赫兹加大了对其核心业务的投资力度,耗资23亿美元收购了Dollar Thrifty。然而尽管汽车共享市场依然很小,但Zipcar开始转而采用内部激励措施,来思考如何重振Avis。

自收购之后,Avis在科技方面的支出翻了两番,去年达到了1.28亿美元。2016年,也就是德·肖恩刚上任首席执行官之际,Avis为其同名品牌推出了一个更加成熟(部分归功于Zipcar的启发)的新应用。它能够让客户下订单或改变预订,保留收据,并缩短提车和还车时间。奥都拿于去年成为了创新负责人,开始着手升级Avis的技术探索业务。它打造了一个应用编程界面(API),也就是一个开放的软件开发系统,能够让网约车服务、数字地图制造商、城市规划者和其他潜在的合作伙伴通过Avis的应用在系统中增添组件,并分享数据。API平台在未来可能会成为一个重要的收入推手:奥都拿是这样设想的,例如,百货店会支付Avis费用,随后Avis将在应用中植入百货店广告,引导用户登录百货店的网站。该应用实际上也能引导他们前往百货店:忘记拿袜子的差旅人士可以乘坐租赁的自动驾驶汽车前往购物站点。

奥都拿的团队推出了野心更大的互联项目。8月,Avis实现了一个里程碑,将10万辆车接入了互联网。实现这一连接的关键装置被巧妙地安装在了每辆车引擎盖下面。装置中的各类感应器能够获取汽车的一些重要数据,从准确地点到精确的指标,例如燃油存量、胎压和刹车片的健康状况。

这些平淡无奇的设备可能会带来巨大的财务影响。要想让一辆车为租车公司赚钱,那么82%的时间它都应该处于被租出的状态。如果Avis能够实时监控汽车的重要数据,那么它便可以避免维修无需维修的车辆。反之,它也可以降低能够让车辆停止工作的故障概率(何况这些故障可能会导致租赁客户出现交通事故,并对其造成不良影响)。

Avis began laying the groundwork for a tech-driven rebound in 2013. That year, Avis paid $500 million to acquire Zipcar, the startup that rents cars on an hourly basis from self-service sites scattered through neighborhoods and downtowns. The move seemed quixotic to some—at the time, Hertz was doubling down on its core business, digesting a $2.3 billion acquisition of Dollar Thrifty. But while the car-sharing market remains small, Zipcar has turned into an internal catalyst for ideas about rejuvenating Avis.

Since the acquisition, Avis’s capital spending on technology has tripled, reaching $128 million last year. In 2016, not long after De Shon became CEO, Avis rolled out a new, more sophisticated (and partly Zipcar-inspired) app for its namesake brand that lets customers book or change a reservation, keep receipts and speed up check-ins and drop-offs. Ordu?a, who became head of innovation that year, set about updating Avis’s tech plumbing. He created an application programming interface (API)—an open software-development system that allows ride-hailing services, digital mapmakers, city planners, and other potential partners to add elements to and share data with Avis’s app. API platforms could be a key revenue driver down the line: Ordu?a envisions a scenario in which, for example, a department store would pay Avis a fee, in return for which Avis would embed ads in its app to steer users to the store’s website. The app could also literally steer them to the store: A traveler who forgot to pack socks could be chauffeured to a shopping site by her self-driving rental sedan.

Ordu?a’s team has done even more ambitious work on the connectivity project. In August, Avis reached the milestone of 100,000 vehicles connected to the Internet. The device that’s central to those connections is a contraption installed on the underside of each car’s hood. It’s loaded with sensors that read the car’s vital signs, from its exact location to the precise state of metrics like fuel levels, tire pressure, and brake-pad health.

These prosaic-looking devices could have a big financial impact. For a given car to make a penny of profit for a rental company, it needs to be rented out at least 82% of the time. If Avis can monitor a car’s vital signs in real time, it can avoid spending money servicing cars that don’t need it. Conversely, it can reduce the odds of a breakdown that would take a car out of service (not to mention alienate renters who suffered a roadside mishap).

位置跟踪还帮助Avis从车辆的租赁日中获得了更多的收入。当汽车因违规停车而被没收时,租赁者通;崞焕,让公司来承:蠊,包括查找车辆被拖走的地点。Avis并没有透露公司因此而蒙受了多少损失。但这是一个十分严重的问题,公司已经在160多个最大的没收场地安装了地理围栏装置,这样,公司便无需等待拖车工人给公司打电话。这一举措,结合内部定位跟踪,将被没收汽车的召回时间平均缩短至6天,时间较以往减少了一半。(在一个十分类似、消费层次可能更高的场合中,定位跟踪帮助Avis更加迅速地回收提前放回机场的、由私人飞机乘客租赁的车辆。)

互联汽车还可以让Avis通过拉近司机与车辆的距离,扩大其客户群。公司希望减少对机场业务的需求,该业务目前占其营收的70%。Avis正在与零售商、商场开发人员和城市规划人员进行交流,讨论打造可以提车和还车的无柜台自助式提车中心,就像Zipcar一样。首席执行官德·肖恩说:“只要能够停5至10辆车的地方,我都把它称之为租赁场地!

Avis已开始在明尼苏达州的堪萨斯城测试这一模式,这一区域的5000辆车都已连入互联网。Avis将分享实时的定位数据,帮助城市规划者完善其计算机化的交通流模型,以更好地决定哪些道路使用频率最高,从而更高效地规划维修。作为回报,Avis致力于设立一些所有城市居民喜闻乐见的事物:一批专用停车位。

Location tracking also helps Avis milk more revenue-earning days out of its fleet. When cars get impounded because of parking violations, renters often walk away, leaving the agencies to deal with the consequences—including figuring out where the car has been towed. Avis won’t say how much revenue it loses to this scenario. But it’s a big enough problem that the company has set up geofencing around more than 160 of the country’s biggest impound lots, so it doesn’t have to wait for pound workers to call the company. That move, combined with internal location tracking, has cut the average recovery time for an impounded car by half, to six days. (In a similar if more upscale vein, location tracking helps Avis more quickly retrieve rentals that have been dropped off early at airports that serve the private-jet crowd.)

Connected cars could also allow Avis to widen its customer base, by putting its cars closer to more drivers. The company hopes to become less reliant on airport locations, where it currently gets 70% of its revenue. Avis is talking with retailers, mall developers, and city planners about creating self-service, counter-free hubs where people could pick up and drop off a car, much as they do with Zipcar. “Anywhere I can park five to 10 cars, I can call it a rental location,” says De Shon, the CEO.

Avis has begun testing that model in the Kansas City, Mo., area, where all of its roughly 5,000 cars are connected. Avis is sharing live car-location data to help city planners refine their computerized traffic flow models, the better to determine which roads are used most frequently and to plan repairs more efficiently. In return, Avis stands to get something any city dweller can appreciate: a bunch of dedicated parking spots.

***

如果人们在菲尼克斯地区的Avis网点租一辆车,然后用三天或三天以上,那么很快便可以获得额外的奖励:乘坐无人驾驶汽车Waymo的礼券。这将成为你的杰森(《碟中谍》主角——译者注)时刻,如果你接受,也就是选择参加这个实验,而这个实验对于Avis和其对手来说都具有极其重要的意义。

当Avis去年宣布与Waymo进行合作时,Avis的股价当天飙升了21%。Enterprise和赫兹一直都在探索类似的领域,但最为引人注目的还属Avis与Waymo的合作,另一方面,Waymo在其发展领域比其他竞争对手走的更远。尽管自动驾驶汽车制造商还需要面对无数的监管和技术障碍,但绝大多数人多相信,无人驾驶汽车的未来不远了。波士顿咨询公司预计,到2030年,自动驾驶汽车的行驶里程有望占到全美总里程的25%。

然而,要让共享汽车业务模式得以运转,这些机器人出租车实际上需要全天候提供服务,而这意味着它们需要维护和清理的次数将远高于普通汽车。Avis与Waymo之间的合作便是为了应对这一问题。在菲尼克斯这座很多自动驾驶汽车制造商的测试地,Avis正在用Waymo的克莱斯勒Pacifica自动驾驶面包车为租户提供服务,目前车队有600辆车,而且还在不断增加。Avis负责换油、换胎和清理等工作;Waymo则负责维护技术含量更高的自动驾驶硬件。

IF YOU RENT A CAR from some Avis locations in the Phoenix area for three days or more, you’ll soon get an extra perk: a coupon for a ride in a driverless Waymo. Your Jetsons moment, should you choose to accept it, will be part of an experiment with high stakes for Avis and its rivals.

Avis’s shares shot up 21% on the day it announced its Waymo partnership last year. Enterprise and Hertz have been exploring the same terrain, but Avis’s deal with Waymo is the splashiest so far, and Waymo, in turn, is further along in its development than many competitors. While autonomous vehicle (AV) makers have numerous regulatory and technological hurdles to clear, few doubt self--driving cars’ day is near: Boston Consulting Group estimates that by 2030, 25% of miles driven on U.S. roads could be logged by shared, self-driving electric cars.

For a shared-car business model to work, however, these robo-taxis will need to be on the road practically around the clock, which means they’ll need to be serviced and cleaned far more regularly than typical cars. That’s where the Avis-Waymo deal comes in. In Phoenix, a testing-ground for many AV-makers, Avis is servicing Waymo’s self-?driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans, a fleet of 600 cars and counting. Avis handles tasks like oil changes, tire rotations, and cleaning; Waymo maintains the more high-tech AV hardware.

给Waymo提供维修服务为“Avis”在自动驾驶汽车行业立足找到了一个支撑点。图片来源:Courtesy of Avis

Avis认为,其大量的基础设施,包括车库和存储设施,有助于自身成为未来汽车共享公司不可或缺的合作伙伴,并为这些公司提供“车队管理服务”。(车队管理也将成为一个热门竞争领域:赫兹和Enterprise也拥有十分强大的车队管理业务。)对于Avis来说,像与Waymo合作这类交易能够提供赚取额外营收的机会,而且也不会因购置车辆而产生大量的固定成本。反过来,Waymo和其他科技公司则避免了管理维护这类成本。正如德·肖恩所说的那样:“为什么要尝试开发那些已经存在的事物?”

与自动驾驶汽车制造商建立合作关系还为Avis未来自身车队的彻底改革奠定了基础。麦肯锡的高级合伙人汉斯·维纳卡斯认为,商务差旅人士将成为首个呼吁使用租赁公司自动驾驶汽车的群体。因为乘坐自动驾驶汽车不用开车,而且可以在前往目的地的同时继续工作。卡斯说:“空出来的时间所带来的价值实际上对他们来说更受用!闭饫嗦眯腥耸空糀vis Budget客户的40%:如果他们想要可租赁的自动驾驶汽车,Avis则有必要满足他们的需求。

Avis is betting that its huge infrastructure of garages and storage facilities will make it an essential partner to provide such “fleet management services” for the car-sharing companies of the future. (This, too, will be a hotly contested field: Hertz and Enterprise also have strong fleet-management businesses.) For Avis, deals like its Waymo partnership offer the chance to earn extra revenue without the heavy fixed cost that comes from owning those cars. Waymo and other tech companies, in turn, avoid the expense of managing maintenance. As De Shon puts it, “Why go out and develop something that’s already built?”

Getting a foot in the door with the AV-makers also sets the stage for Avis to someday radically overhaul its own fleet. Hans-Werner Kaas, senior partner at consultancy ?McKinsey & Co., thinks business travelers will be the first to clamor for self-driving rental cars, which will enable them to work instead of drive and still get to their destination. “The value of freed-up time is simply more relevant for them,” says Kaas. Such travelers account for 40% of Avis Budget’s customers: If they want robo-rentals, Avis will need to deliver.

***

不久之前,拉里德·肖恩的儿子打电话告诉他一则消息:住在芝加哥的这位年轻人将销售其汽车,因为他不再需要车了。德·肖恩回忆道,这则消息“让我感到很伤心,因为这是我给他的毕业礼物。我问他:‘你怎么能把车给卖了?’我的孩子回答道:‘我可以搭乘Zipcar,或者Uber!焙孟⑹,我的孩子在接下来几个月中从Avis租了四次车,用于周末长途旅行。

所有迹象表明,随着年轻一代退出购车大军,汽车持有量将继续下滑。德·肖恩的故事告诉我们,这对于租车公司来说是一个潜在的机遇。这一趋势可能会带来更大的客户群。但Lyft、Uber和自动驾驶出租车的崛起将催生激烈的竞争环境。

8月,Avis宣布与Lyft建立合作关系。这是Avis使用科技为自己多项赌注保驾护航的最新举措。根据这一协议,Avis品牌将向Lyft Express Drive项目提供数千辆车。该项目旨在吸引那些有望租车的无车司机。该交易为Avis提供了一个接触未来自动驾驶汽车大用户的机会。同时,Avis也可以借此获得更多与拼车业务模式有关的第一手资料。此外,它还有助于提升其普通车队车辆的创收天数。

与此同时,Avis的核心业务还远未到退出历史舞台的时候。如今,公司典型的租赁期限是一个4天的合同,涵盖约450英里。当一个四口之家来到盐湖城,顺道访问犹他州国家公园时,他们不会使用Uber或Lyft:兆鹊氖紫葱泄倏ㄋ估扯鳌ぢ砝诼薰兰,传统汽车市场与市区短途旅行为主的市。ㄆ闯嫡贾鞯嫉匚唬┙鲇10%的重叠部分。

然而,这10%的领域在最近几年发生的巨大变化也让Avis Budget意识到,自己不能再无动于衷。创新官奥都拿表示,这一技术合作终于改变了“人们对公司的看法,公司在人们眼中不再是一头守株待兔的庞然大物!

NOT LONG AGO Larry De Shon’s son called him with some news: The young man, who lives in Chicago, was selling his car because he didn’t need one. The news “broke my heart, because it was his graduation gift,” De Shon recalls. “I ask, ‘How can you sell your car?’ The kid answers, ‘I can take a Zipcar, I can take an Uber.’?” The upside: The kid also rented cars from Avis four times in the ensuing months, for longer weekend trips.

All signs indicate that car-ownership rates will continue to drop as younger generations opt out. As De Shon’s story suggests, that’s a potential opportunity for rental-car companies. The trend may well create a much bigger customer base. But the rise of Lyft, Uber, and the robo-taxi crowd creates much more competition.

Avis’s Lyft partnership, announced in August, is the latest example of how Avis hopes to use technology to hedge multiple bets. Under the agreement, the Avis brand will provide thousands of cars to Lyft’s Express Drive program, which mobilizes prospective drivers who don’t own cars. The deal gives Avis an in with a future big user of AVs, and more experience working with the ride-sharing business model. It also helps it get more revenue-?generating days out of its regular fleet cars.

Avis’s core business, meanwhile, is far from extinct. Its typical rental today is a four-day contract involving some 450 miles. A family of four landing in Salt Lake City en route to visit the national parks in Utah is not about to use Uber or Lyft. Hertz CEO Kathryn Marinello estimates there is only currently a 10% overlap between the traditional rental-car market and the mostly urban short-haul market where the ride-sharing services dominate.

Still, the change that has swept through that 10% in recent years has shown Avis Budget that it can’t afford to sit still. The tech partnerships, says Ordu?a, the innovation officer, are finally beginning to change “the perception of us as a dinosaur sitting there, waiting for a comet to hit.”

***

汽车租赁公司在未来五年中将发生巨大变化的五大原因

1. 互联汽车:租赁汽车公司正逐渐将数百万台汽车连入互联网。其目标在于:削减维护成本、提升汽车的行驶时长,并通过推销广告和服务形成新的收入源。Avis Budget正努力在2020前将旗下60万台车均接入互联网。

2. 自动驾驶汽车:自动驾驶汽车即将来临,分析师预计它对利润丰厚的商业差旅人士市场来说非常有吸引力。租车公司正试图从最基本的阶段始与自动驾驶汽车制造商合作。重要合作案例:Avis与Waymo;赫兹与Aptiv;Enterprise与Voyage。

3. 车队管理:租车费率一直没有什么起色,因此Avis和其他租车供公司希望实现其收入来源的多元化。借助不断延伸的车库网络以及在管理、修理和清理车辆方面的专长,这些公司看到了向其他公司销售车队管理服务的机会,包括自动驾驶汽车制造商。

4. 汽车共享:汽车共享在移动领域的营收占比不到1%,但租车行业领军者都已涉足这一行业。此举有助于让他们为其租赁车队设立更多的免柜台服务网点。重要品牌:Zipcar(Avis)、EnterpriseCar Share以及赫兹24/7。

5. 再销售零售:数年之后,租赁汽车公司会再次销售其汽车,而该行业利润最大的障碍一直都是二手车市场的疲软。为了更好地控制车辆的再售时间和地点,三大租车巨头正在打造其自有的实体二手车销售网点。Avis如今拥有7家店面,并计划增设更多店面。(香港特别财富网)

FIVE REASONS YOUR RENTAL-CAR COMPANY WILL LOOK VERY DIFFERENT IN FIVE YEARS

1. CONNECTED CARS: The rental-car companies are gradually connecting their millions of vehicles to the Internet. The aim: to cut maintenance costs, make sure cars spend more time on the road, and generate new sources of revenue from selling ads and services. Avis Budget has committed to getting all 600,000 of its cars connected by 2020.

2. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES: Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are coming, and analysts expect them to be especially attractive to the lucrative businesstraveler market. The rental companies are trying to get in at the ground level with the AV-makers. Key partnerships: Avis and Waymo; Hertz and Aptiv; Enterprise and Voyage.

3. FLEET MANAGEMENT: Rental rates have stalled, so Avis and others want to diversify their revenue sources. With sprawling networks of garages and expertise in maintaining, fixing, and cleaning cars, these companies see opportunity in selling fleet management services to other companies, including AV-makers.

4. CAR SHARING: Car sharing accounts for less than 1% of revenues in the “mobility” sector, but the industry leaders all dabble in the field. This is helping them prepare for a future with more counterfree locations for their rental fleets. Key brands: Zipcar (Avis), EnterpriseCar Share, and Hertz 24/7.

5. RESALE RETAIL: Rental-car companies resell their cars after a few years, and the biggest drag on industry profits has been a weak secondhand auto market. To better control the timing and location of those resales, the Big Three are building their own physical used-car sales lots. Avis now has seven stores and plans to add more.

***

本文的另一版本登载于2019年10月17日刊的《财富》杂志,标题为《处于岔路口的租车公司Avis》。

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

A version of this article appears in the November 1, 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “A Fork In The Road For Avis.”

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏