Volkswagen Group is piloting a new car rental service at five UK dealerships and it is planning to expand the offering later this year.
Volkswagen Financial Services UK, Rent-a-Car; lets customers select, book and pay for their car online ahead of collection at their chosen showroom. Collection and delivery can also be arranged at a customer’s chosen location subject to availability.
Progress Skoda in Northampton, DM Keith in Leeds, Citygate VW in Watford, Breeze VW in Poole and Inchcape VW in Exeter have all been chosen for the pilot.
VW’s Polo, Golf, Golf estate, Tiguan, Passat and Passat Estate are all available through VWFS Rent-a-Car, while commercial vehicles are expected to be added soon.
Skoda’s Fabia, Octavia, Octavia estate and Karoq are also available for customers to rent.
Prices start from around £33 a day or £230 a week for a VW Golf.
VW Group said if the pilot is successful, more dealers across the group network will starting offering new car rental later this year.
Mark Forton, director of Mobility Services at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, said: “As we see customers moving from ownership to usership we are very excited to launch our first rental offering to the UK market, through our sister company, Volkswagen Group’s retailer network.”
Research revealed that a significant number of short term car rental customers disliked collection locations, hidden and unclear costs such as damage, fuel and mileage charges, plus “high-pressured upselling” at vehicle collection.
All vehicles available through the service will be under eight months old and customers will be guaranteed to get access to the model they want by picking from availability of stock online.
The cost displayed online will be the price paid, eliminating any hidden costs and damage charges will be agreed by taking photos at collection and return (as per a usual daily rental).
Terence Byrne, Progress Skoda managing director, said it was important for dealers to be involved trialling new ideas that challenge the traditional ownership model.
He said: “Car ownership is evolving and it’s important we continue to review our offering to meet our customers changing needs.”