THE vehicle rental space in Australia is starting to really get its motor running, following news that Jucy Rentals is preparing to invest $40 million in the local market.
Money will be spent primarily on increasing the size of its car and campervan fleet, as well as opening new retail locations across Australia, with an extra 1,000 rental units expected to be added to its ranks across New Zealand and Australia.
Jucy CEO, Dan Alpe, said that now was the right time to put the pedal to the metal as the Aussie tourism market starts to gain solid traction following the pandemic.
“What we can see from our forward bookings is that the Australian tourism market is responding much faster than expected and we are now looking at accelerating our growth strategy to meet the growing demand in the self-drive visitor segment,” he said.
“Our data shows the upcoming summer peak of inbound international tourists will start noticeably earlier than normal and we are well on the way to seeing numbers return to pre-pandemic levels.
“This rebound in tourism numbers is being driven by thousands of visitors from the European market which means the Australian market will likely face a supply shortfall in excess of what we have seen previously,” Alpe added.
The war chest for expansion was likely made possible by decisions Apollo Tourism & Leisure (ATL) was forced to make in its attempt to get a proposed merger with Tourism Holdings Limited over the line.
The buyout hit a speed bump earlier this year when NZ’s consumer watchdog and the ACCC both flagged that the size of the combined entity and lack of competitors would ultimately create an environment where consumers would lose out.
As a result, ATL said it was prepared to jettison its four-six berth motorhome rental fleet in Australia and New Zealand to part-owner in Jucy, Next Capital, which has since taken a majority stake in Jucy.
“Next Capital is a leading mid-market private equity firm with significant experience in tourism and transport operators, and our new strategic partnership is designed to support our continued growth across both Australia and New Zealand,” Alpe said.
“At the current rate, we are forecasting a full recovery to pre-COVID levels by November 2023.”