Europcar acquisition could be a smart move for Volkswagen, says GlobalData

Following confirmation that French car rental group Europcar’s owners are in advanced discussions with a consortium including Volkswagen that is interested in a possible takeover;

David Leggett, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Debt-laden Europcar could be relatively cheap as the car rental sector reels under the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The major stakeholder, investor company Eurazeo, may also be in the mood to sell given the current downbeat outlook for the car rental sector.

“VW may feel that acquiring a vehicle hire company – and one which it used to own – at a very good price is too good an opportunity to overlook.

“One immediate benefit is that Europcar’s large vehicle fleet would provide a significant captive customer for VW Group cars and vans.

“In the longer term, VW could also utilise Europcar infrastructure to help with the rollout of future mobility services. For example, Europcar rental stations could serve future ride-hail fleets. Further, if autonomous cars make it to market in geo-fenced city centres, airports and major highway corridors, Europcar stations might become very attractive bases, perfectly positioned.

“Car rental brands could also be a way into the ‘car subscription’ market, with longer hire terms and product bundles that can grow out of the short-term rental opportunity and its large, diverse customer base.

“Acquiring Europcar could turn out to be a smart move for VW Group.”

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