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Tesla to Mercedes: We zoom in on S’pore’s car rental and sharing market, and how much they cost

car rental singapore

Had too many pineapple tarts and love letters this month that you are feeling lazy to take the public transport? Or do you have too much ‘barang barang’ to carry for Chinese New Year shopping and will need to book a taxi/private hire to get home?

For those who are planning to visit their relatives during Chinese New Year, you might be thinking of ways to avoid the surge pricing that ride-hailing apps and taxis usually charge on these popular days. Then again, you may also belong to the group that has been considering getting a car for some time but aren’t really ready for the 10-year commitment that comes with paying road tax and vehicle maintenance.

The nature of the car industry these days is very different compared to just a few years ago. It used to be that only “towkays” or rich kids got to drive around in car brands like Mercedes, Porsches, and BMWs.

Back then, even if the car model was a basic Japanese one like a Mazda or a Toyota, only a privileged few drove around in cars – those who could afford the hefty downpayment for their vehicles.

Image Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su

These days, you can even drive a Mercedes, a BMW, a Porsche, or a Tesla instantly without paying for a downpayment. A person who’s driving on the road need not necessarily own the car too, they can be renting it for a few hours only.

Other than the usual driving rules required such as the need to have a driver’s licence before one can be on the road, the accessibility to obtain and drive cars is no longer deemed as a luxury in this day and age.

Car marketplaces are offering car rentals that span from annual plans to renting a car down to the minutes. Customers are able to take their pick and choose the option that suits them best with just the click of a few buttons via online or on the car subscription apps.

Car rentals for six months or more

Leasing with Tribecar

The car marketplace offers a Leasing with Tribecar service, in partnership with Drive.SG.

The service gives customers a chance to “own” their dream car with zero downpayments. The rates are fixed per month and Tribecar provides 24 hours roadside assistance and regular servicing intervals for customers.

It claims that the service helps customers safeguard themselves from resale value shocks and frees up the stress of Total Debt Servicing Ratio loading.

Image Credit: Leasing with Tribecar

On the website, it states that customers can rent a Nissan Elgrand for S$2,100 for a six-month lease period. Other car models like Mazda 3 and BMW 216GT are sold out at the moment and are rented out at less than S$2,000 per month.

For a 12-month lease period, the car brands available for rent include Mercedes Benz E250 for S$3,000 per month and a Tesla Model 3 SR+ for S$3,900 per month. There are subscription plans for up to 36 months and the rental rates are slightly cheaper the longer the rental term.

Carzuno

Carzuno’s mission is to provide users with a new way to get their own car without buying or leasing. Every car includes insurance, servicing, maintenance, 24/7 roadside assistance and no deposit or downpayment is needed.

According to Carzuno, customers just have to pay a flat monthly fee and subscribe to the Carzuno subscription plan which ranges from one month to two years. They can sign up online and their vehicles will be delivered to their doorstep in 24 hours.

Image Credit: Carzuno website screengrab

Cars for rent on the platform include brands like BMW, Volkswagen, and Audi. For those looking for higher-end brands, there are Bentley, Maserati, and Porsche.

The rental fees range from S$1,499 per month for a 2016 Mazda 2 1.5 to S$2,999 per month for 12 months for a 2010 Porsche Boxster 2.7 Auto Convertible.

Customers can change their cars at the end of their subscription period to suit their needs.

This Singapore startup may be young but it has been steadily entering the car-sharing scene and strengthening its foothold. It was founded in May last year by former Uber and Grab executive Amrt Sagar and former staff of Hertz and ComfortDelGro Andrew Chan.

Subscribe to a car for 4 weeks

Image Credit: Vulcan Post

Tribecar subscription plan

The company offers a car subscription service that allows members to “own” a car for S$128 a month.

Members are eligible to own a car for two free hours of daily bookings of the cars, on weekdays Monday (12.00am) to Friday (5.00pm).

Users have to book the vehicle up to two hours in advance and the subscription is only applicable for one booking a day.

Image Credit: Tribecar

The first two hours will be complimentary but any additional hours will be subject to normal booking rates. If users exceed 24 hours on top of the free two hours, they will have to pay the daily cap pricing.

The subscription plan runs for four weeks from sign up and will auto-renew if users do not cancel the subscription. Users can book any available vehicle in Tribecar’s fleet which includes traditional car brands like Toyota.

Blackout dates are stated on the subscription page. For this Chinese New Year, normal rates will apply from Jan 28th to Feb 2nd.

Tribecar said that weekends are not included in the plan due to the higher utilisation of its fleet.

Rent a car for a couple of days or hours

GetGo carsharing

GetGo is a relatively new car-sharing player in the Singapore market. From its fleet of 400 vehicles in March last year, it has since doubled to over 1,000 cars located islandwide.

Users don’t have to pay for any deposit or subscription fees, instead, they pay based on the time and mileage used. GetGo said that it covers the cost of maintenance, insurance, and even petrol costs.

Image Credit: GetGo

The cars are available round the clock, and can be booked from as short as an hour to up to two days. It follows a price package of S$3.00 to S$9.00 per hour depending on the time of the day.

The price excludes fuel so there’s a mileage charge of 35 cents for every kilometre travelled for petrol/diesel vehicles and 0.25 cents for electric vehicles (EV).

The app currently serves over 100,000 verified users, with over 400,000 bookings completed to date.

BlueSG

Drive away without feeling guilty about carbon dioxide emissions with EVs. EV service BlueSG offers car subscription plans that start with membership fees from S$8 per month.

The additional rental rate breaks down to 33 cents per minute, or S$19,80 per hour, but the business often introduces rental package deals that offer discounts from the standard rates.

Image Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su

The EVs require to be charged at the stations when idle. With its many stations islandwide, even in Sentosa, members can book and return the vehicles in a different charging lot from the pick up destination.

This makes it the most flexible option for single journeys like staycations where you need to bring bulkier items like your luggage to the hotel. You can just drive via BlueSG and park them at the designated charging point when done and use the cars again when you are travelling home.

The road ahead for car sharing

With the press of a button, you can book a car at your convenience. Sharing a car also has its perks, such as lesser or almost no maintenance fees needed. It’s also a much more affordable option versus ownership – you pay for the car for how long you drive it.

According to Deloitte’s 2021 global automotive consumer study, 52 per cent of Southeast Asian consumers prefer to commute via personal vehicles now, compared to 37 per cent pre-pandemic. This reflects a trend of people opting for greater comfort and convenience.

Car subscription plans are mostly suitable for those who only need a car for events and on occasion. For some families who require the use of a car on a daily basis, it will be more practical to consider fully committing and buying one instead of signing up for a subscription plan.

Image Credit: Lendela

Such plans are also unsuitable for those who live further away from key drop-off locations and designated parking spots.

All in, the car-sharing concept goes in line with sustainability and environmental efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If the industry takes off, other potential benefits would be lesser needs to build parking infrastructure and fewer cars on the road. 

Not to mention it’s also friendlier to the wallet too.


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Featured Image Credit: Carzuno, GetGo, Tribecar, BlueSG

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