ECARS plans 20 more outlets

Competition in the insurance replacement sector of the Canadian rental car market promises to start heating up.Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the largest player in insurance replacement in the u.s., has established a toehold of 27 locations in southwestern Ontario.The Canadian division, known as...

Competition in the insurance replacement sector of the Canadian rental car market promises to start heating up.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the largest player in insurance replacement in the u.s., has established a toehold of 27 locations in southwestern Ontario.

The Canadian division, known as ECARS Rent-A-Car, opened its first location in January 1993 and recently announced plans to open another 20 offices by the end of 1994.

In Canada, Canadian-owned Discount Car & Truck Rentals and Budget Rent A Car, a division of Budget in the u.s., are the two key rental companies in Canada focussing on insurance car replacement.

A third company, u.s.-owned Agency Rent-A-Car, specializes in replacement, but it is a relatively small player with only 30 offices.

Enterprise operates a network of 1,600 offices in the u.s.

According to Kevin Whelan, ecars vice-president and general manager, between 75% to 80% of Enterprise’s business comes from providing insurance replacement cars for people who have had accidents, and replacement cars for people whose cars have been dropped off at a service garage or dealership for repair or maintenance.

The balance of Enterprise’s customers are a grab bag of vacationers, businesspeople and other users.

So far in Canada, Whelan says almost all of ecars’ business has been conducted in the replacement sector.

He says it is unlikely ecars will enter the bidding – scheduled to take place this year under the auspicies of Transport Canada – for counter space in Canada’s federally regulated airports.

According to estimates, about 60% of Canadian car rentals is transacted at airport terminals.

Whelan says ecars will stick to its knitting, noting the company knows how the replacement market works and has developed high levels of customer service to differentiate itself from competitors in the field. PA