The world’s greatest football tournament is nearly upon us and for recession battered car hire firms in South Africa that is very good news. Although there has been an improvement in figures over the Christmas holidays, car rental companies are now fixed on preparing themselves for the demand for vehicles the World Cup is expected to bring. Dawn Nathan-Jones, chief executive officer at Europcar SA says that they intend to grow their rental fleet by around 20% in the run up to the football extravaganza. She said that they would be concentrating on acquiring more people carriers, SUVs and minibuses. She went on to say that Europcar had already placed orders with various manufacturers and would pretty much be looking to purchase as many vehicles as those manufacturers can supply.

Keith Rankin who runs the car rental arm of Barloworld which owns Avis Rent A Car said that at one point last month the demand for car hire was such that the company actually ran out of vehicles to offer customers. Ray booth who runs Budget Rent A Car said that they too would be increasing the size of their fleet to meet anticipated demand from those visiting South Africa during the World Cup. At present Budget has a fleet of around 9,000 vehicles and they plan to grow by around 5% ahead of next June. Both Nathan-Jones and Booth say that the number of people making enquires and securing reservations for the World Cup has gone up dramatically in the past few weeks.