Uber-owned Lion City Rentals (LCR) is a private-hire vehicle fleet owner with about 14,000 vehicles, providing car rentals to full-time drivers who work for ride-hailing platforms in Singapore.
Founded in 2015, LCR previously provided rental services for Uber drivers in Singapore.
However, after Grab’s takeover of Uber’s Southeast Asia business in March, LCR now supplies cars to Grab drivers.
Its general manager Pascal Ly, who is Uber’s ex-general manager in Cambodia, announced yesterday that LCR is expanding its business scope to include the general public in the next two to three months.
Beyond private-hire drivers, they are looking to target “casual drivers”, including friends or couples who wish to rent vehicles for getaways, or those seeking transport to move bulky items.
In line with this shift, the company is introducing a slew of incentives such as a loyalty scheme for top hirers, shorter rental periods as short as a week, and competitive pricing.
Ly said that LCR is offering rental rates about $20 to $30 lower than other dealers per day.
For instance, its most expensive rental car is the Honda Vezel Hybrid, which costs $65.30 a day. Other companies typically charge $90 a day.
Among the cheapest car is the Toyota Vios, which costs $53.10 a day, way lower than the usual $70 rental fee charged by other dealers.
You can also rent a Mazda 3 car for just $390 a week, which whittles down to about $55 a day.
Earlier in September, The Straits Times had reported that LCR was on the brink of closing down as it was selling off its fleet to companies like ComfortDelGro and Grab.
From a 14,000-strong fleet as of December last year, recent reports revealed that its fleet size has only about 10,000 cars now.
While it’s true that LCR’s fleet has downsized, Ly asserted that this rebranding move is not a “last resort or desperate measure”.
We are not in a desperate situation. We’re not saying ‘Oh, Grab didn’t buy us, we are sad about it’. We are taking care of ourselves and ensuring that we are moving forward as we should be.
Ly, who joined LCR two months ago, said that while the firm remains an Uber subsidiary, it has an “independent voice” with the authority to decide its own business strategies.
LCR Looks Forward To Go-Jek’s Arrival To Singapore
Last month, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) had fined both Grab and Uber a combined $13 million for an anti-competitive merger.
Uber was fined $6.5 million, while Grab was fined $6.4 million.
The competition watchdog also imposed a number of legislations: Grab drivers are now free to use any platform they desire, effectively removing Grab’s exclusivity arrangements with taxi fleets in Singapore.
Grab’s pre-merger pricing algorithm and driver commission rate will also be maintained, and Uber would need to sell the vehicles from Lion City Rentals to “any potential competitor who makes a reasonable offer based on fair market value”.
With these new laws in place, LCR said that it currently has no plans to sign deals with any ride-hailing platforms.
It is however, open to the idea of selling its cars and any potential buyout will be subjected to approval from Uber.
It added that it is looking forward to Go-Jek’s arrival to Singapore next month, as this would mean a “market uplift” for car rental companies.
“People will be looking for cars, and we want to be sure that people will be thinking about Lion City Rentals to rent their cars,” Ly said.
He believes that their experience in supplying vehicles to both Uber and Grab will help propel their brand position.
“You can trust that we know what we’re doing as a business,” he said confidently.
“Our vision is to be the preferred rental car company in Singapore.”
Featured Image Credit: Lion City Rentals