Tuesday , August 3 2021

Low-cost wheel: How is the new business with cheap car hire from one of the owners of Flybondi

"The other day, a friend told him to go to Bariloche, in vacation, by car, from Buenos Aires, to be there for a week, it's crazy," he says. Julian Cook, the Swiss entrepreneur who until December was CEO of Flybondi, the first company low cost of the country, of which he remains shareholder and vice president.

"Flybondi reached a size of more than 500 employees, I had established the project from scratch and had worked full time for three years. My strength is more in operation, in launch than in daily operations. Since August last year, we had talked to the board and we agreed to leave. And I went to do other things, "he says Infobae.

The first thing you need to do is call Wow Rent a car, something that defines as a "Complementary and new generation car rental" that will start to work this year with 1,000 rental units in the main tourist destinations in the country and with which In the first year, according to estimates by the employer, invoices about USD 5 million.

That is, cheap rental cars at tourist sites. "We must do the same as with airplanes, but with this market"promise cook.

The idea arose a year and a half ago, having traveled with Flybondi, the largest cities in the country. "The Argentine air market was underdeveloped and much before the arrival of Flybondi and the market low cost. But rental cars are much worse. Today, there are only 15,000 cars, against 30,000 in Chile and 700,000 in Brazil. Argentina should have four or five times more"Discretion.

The idea of ​​Wow is to provide services to the main tourist destinations in Argentina. "In all, you need a car: Salta, Mendoza, Bariloche, Jujuy and Cordoba, perhaps not so much in Iguazu, and since the offer is so poor or non-existent, many people continue to drive far away to get there, "Cook says. In principle Wow will have package deals with Flybondi, but does not exclude adding other airlines and businesses in the tourism sector.

– How will the system work?

– generally global The car rental experience has not changed in the last 20 years. One arrives, has to queue, wait more than half an hour. Many procedures are done with the passport or document, someone gives you a key … With the technology that exists today and the experience of the companies in carpooling, it is clear that everything can be made better, more flexible and friendlyin addition, with less cost. Wow you want to run from an app that will tell you where the car is, open it from the phone and leave. Everything more effective. We want rooms at the airports and in the center of the largest cities. We target the tourism market and we will not compete with carpooling.

– How much will the rent cost?

– Today, the average local rental rate is USD 50 per day. In Chile, it is half and in Spain, one third. There are margins at lower costs and good service. We will be 50% lower.

– How many cars do you need?

– In 5 years, about 5,000 cars. That's the logical step after low cost: You arrive cheaply and you continue to travel with your own means of hire for a reasonable price. With Flybondi We promised to triple the air market in 10 years and we do. Why deal with so much? You take one low cost and rent a car.

– Do you need to buy all the vehicles?

– Yes, we are now talking to the car manufacturers, which are very poor, with sales of 50% last year. We choose our strategic partner in May. It will be about 1,000 units in the first 12 months. For start-upAbout 800

– Which car brands are you selling?

– With everyone in the world when you rent, you never know which car they will give you. They tell you such a model or "similar" and it is always "similar". We must launch the service with only one model of a brand, but we have not yet defined it. It's going to be a compact car, which is 80% of the rental market. Maybe an entry-level SUV.

– Are you asking for much discount in the negotiations?

– Yes, it's part of the key to this business. We are talking about something big and we are looking for a price. It will also be a good showcase for that model.

– Who are the project's investors?

– We're closing the first round of investments. Some shareholders have already been confirmed, but I cannot say yet. I have a partner who is also from the travel area, but for now the visible face of the project is me. Everything that has to do with loans at the moment is very complicated, with the rates skyrocketing. Maybe we will equity Buying the first cars depends on the credit. The same is the financing: it will not be less than 5 million. USD to start without counting the cars. It is a local project for the first two years, and so we plan to expand into the region and perhaps also enter into agreements with other car brands. We do not want to have a car company as a partner because it would limit growth and other possible agreements.

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