A ‘rebirth’: Uber-owned Lion City Rentals announces it’s operating ‘independently’, reaches out to casual hirers

Lion City Rental’s new general manager Pascal Ly announced the company’s future operation plans.
Sean Lim / Business Insider

Following Grab’s acquisition of Uber in Southeast Asia, Lion City Rentals (LCR), the American tech company’s vehicle rental subsidiary, has announced new schemes in place that will allow it to operate “independently”.

In March this year, Grab confirmed it will be taking over Uber’s entire operations in Southeast Asia, with the exception of LCR.

On Oct 25, LCR announced that it would be undergoing an “operational rebirth”, though it is currently still a subsidiary of Uber.

Pascal Ly, general manager of LCR, said during a media meet: “Lion City Rentals is a stand-alone entity which has its own life and direction. We now have our own voice; we are acting on our own; we have our own management team.”

However, he made it clear that Uber owns LCR, and corporate deals are still under Uber’s control.

Previously only serving ride-hailing platforms, LCR will now be opening its doors to casual drivers who are looking to rent cars. LCR hopes to introduce this scheme by this year.

The rental company is providing hirers with shorter rental terms – six months, three months, five weeks and even just one week.

Ly shared that renting a car for seven days is beneficial not only to the company, but to hirers as well.

“(Hirers) have the peace of mind to change to another car (which they prefer)… It is also another way of prompting hirers to sign up for longer contracts. ”

According to Ly, the proportion of drivers extending contracts has doubled over the past year.

The retention and contract extension as seen by LCR since Jul 2 to Oct 15.
Lion City Rentals

He maintained that the change in business plans is not a last resort measure because Grab did not buy over the company.

“We’re not in desperate situation. We recognise that this is how it is, and now, we are taking care of ourselves,” Ly said.

“The market situation is showing us that we should be addressing a larger crowd,” he added.

The rental company acknowledged that it is still selling off some of its cars to ensure it is adapting to the trends by “providing the right kind of fleet to drivers”.

Currently, it has “thousands” of cars in its fleet, though fleet size has decreased since the merger announcement.

With Indonesia’s Go-Jek about to enter the ride-hailing market here, Ly said that he expects a “a market uplift” for car rental companies, especially LCR.

Referring to LCR’s experience as a rental company for Uber drivers, Ly added that the company is well-positioned to offer rental cars to private car hire drivers.