Sime Darby Motors unit open to working with e-hailing firms

Sime Darby Motors Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan managing director Dennis Ho

George Town: Sime Darby Motors’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Sime Darby Rent A Car Sdn Bhd (SDRAC) is open to collaborating with local e-hailing companies as part of its strategy to grow the business.

Sime Darby Motors Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan managing director Dennis Ho said the group has been studying the possibility of such a tie-up in light of the growing popularity of e-hailing services, such as Grab.

“We are monitoring the situation and we are waiting for the right time to participate in this market,” he said at a press conference last Friday, after SDRAC was presented with the Hertz Asia Business Excellence Award for its outstanding performance in growing the Hertz and Thrifty brands in Malaysia.

Ho said SDRAC is also contemplating investing in online platforms that specialise in e-hailing apps.

SDRAC managing director Harun Mohd Joned said a tie-up could see e-hailing companies benefiting from SDRAC’s vehicle fleet size.

“E-hailing companies are always in need of vehicles, which is something we can easily provide. We also have an extensive network that can be leveraged on.”

Harun said he did not see e-hailing companies as a direct threat to SDRAC’s business.

“E-hailing services are taxi-based companies, whereas we are in the business where the customer is driving his or her own car.

“It’s a completely different business and e-hailing companies have a minimum impact on us.”

SDRAC operates the Hertz and Thrifty vehicle rental franchise in Malaysia and is currently the largest car rental service provider with 29 outlets nationwide.

SDRAC manages over 3,800 vehicles, representing the largest fleet in South-East Asia for the Hertz and Thrifty brands.

Harun said SDRAC is looking to expand its presence at smaller airports nationwide.

“We’re looking at airports where we don’t have counters, such as Sibu, Terengganu and Melaka.

In terms of the company’s financial performance, Harun said SDRAC’s revenue and profit grew 13% and 50% respectively for the financial year ended June 30.

“Last year, we also increased our fleet size by 500 cars,” he said.

On its prospects for this year, Harun said SDRAC expects revenue growth of between 9% and 10%.

“The markets we serve include tourists, locals and corporate customers and we see these segments growing.

“Today, more people are opting not to own a car or even if they do, many resort to e-hailing services.

“Owning a car is a huge financial commitment.”

Ho said SDRAC’s Malaysian operations currently contribute about 15% to Sime Darby Motors’ Malaysia operations.


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