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Avis pulling into town

Avis Budget Group Inc store in San Francisco
A car leaves the Avis Budget Group Inc store in San Francisco, California, in 2011. BLOOMBERG

Avis pulling into town

International car rental operator Avis is bringing its brand to Cambodia and Laos, according to a statement released last week from local licensee RMA Group.

If the deal is seen through, Avis would be the first global car rental company to compete in the Kingdom.

The company will open facilities in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the statement said, along with facilities in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse in Laos.

“Our licensee agreement with RMA Group will allow us to expand our global footprint and help to ensure that we are well-positioned to realize the growth potential of the Avis brand in each country,” president of Avis Budget Group Latin America/Asia Pacific Patric Siniscalchi said.

The commencement of operations, however, remains unknown, said CEO of RMA Cambodia Rami Sharaf, adding that more details would be released in the coming days.

Avis currently has 5,750 facilities in 165 countries. Parent company Avis Budget Group reported $2.4 billion in revenue over the first three quarters, a 10 per cent hike from the same period last year.

The announcement generated mixed responses from local rental car services operators.

Khim Vuthy, owner of Landa Car Rental, currently owns and leases 20 chauffeur-driven vehicles.

“There are many small rental car companies who offer cheaper options of up to $250 per month. Competition is good for a free market especially with higher-end vehicles,” he said.

Sa Vongz, owner of Lyna Car Rental, doubted Avis could compete with smaller company prices, adding that if Avis releases cars for “self drive”, they should survey the risks.

Road safety program manager for Handicap International Ear Chariya agreed, calling on Avis to implement strict licensing conditions and hold tutorials for drivers new to Cambodia’s roads.

“I strongly encourage any rental car company that gives tourists the opportunity to drive to provide sufficient information to the tourists before they drive on the road,” he said.

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