In September last year, The Straits Times reported that Uber’s Lion City Rentals 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 2017, reports revealed that its fleet has downsized to only about 10,000 cars.
While its fleet has shrunk, LCR also announced two months ago that it is rebranding by expanding its business scope to include the general public.
What this means is that beyond private-hire drivers, LCR is targeting “casual drivers”, such as friends or couples who wish to rent vehicles for getaways, or those seeking transport to move bulky items.
This rebranding move is not a “last resort or desperate measure”, claimed general manager Pascal Ly, who is also Uber’s ex-general manager in Cambodia.
He added that Uber was looking to sell the vehicles from LCR to “any potential competitor who makes a reasonable offer based on fair market value”.
At the time, LCR said that it had no plans to sign deals with any ride-hailing platforms, but was open to the idea of selling its cars and any potential buyout — subject to the approval of Uber.
WayDrive Holdings, a new local joint venture between vehicle trader MotorWay Group and investment vehicle Toh Motors, have acquired 100 per cent of LCR for an undisclosed sum.
According to The Straits Times, the transaction involves 8,000 cars that are two years old and older, and an acquisition price of around $350 million.
Motorway chief executive Michael Lim told ST that the deal will include the takeover of about 150 LCR employees, as well as its rented premises.
He added that the acquisition has been in the pipeline for about four to five months, and there were at least two other motor dealers who were keen to buy over LCR.
This acquisition comes eight months after Uber and ComfortDelGro backed out of an agreement for the local taxi giant to purchase a 51 per cent stake in LCR for $642 million.
ComfortDelGro’s purchase agreement was inked in December 2017, but three months later in March 2018, Uber announced its exit from the Southeast Asian market.
“[Currently], 80 per cent of LCR cars are rented out. We are in talks with Grab and Go-Jek to supply them cars. We will have a fuller picture in two to three weeks’ time,” shared Lim.
Featured Image Credit: Lion City Rentals