The nation’s car rental industry has experienced a steep drop in business as people cancel travel plans and stay at home following a surge in local COVID-19 infections last month.
The slump in business is particularly damaging for some car rental firms and might push them into bankruptcy, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) reported yesterday, citing the Taipei Passenger Car Rental Association.
The association has called on the government to suspend vehicle fuel tax and vehicle license tax this year to help car rental companies overcome the difficulties, the newspaper reported.
Photo courtesy of Carplus Auto Leasing Co
The government last year halved the vehicle fuel and license taxes for car rental companies as part of its COVID-19 relief measures, the association said.
However, despite the situation this year being more severe than last year, the government’s latest “Stimulus 4.0” COVID-19 relief package contains no measures for the industry, leaving companies in a more miserable state, the association added.
Carplus Auto Leasing Corp (格上租車), a unit of Yulon Group (裕隆集團), has seen revenue from its short-term car rental and chauffeur service drop by nearly 70 percent, the Liberty Times reported.
The company’s rental business has been in the red since May 15, when the level 3 COVID-19 alert was first issued in Taipei and New Taipei City, it said.
Hotai Leasing Corp (和運租車), a subsidiary of Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), also experienced a collapse in rental bookings, the paper reported.
Hotai Leasing, whose iRent mobile app allows customers to make reservations, collect and return rental cars at different locations any time, said more than 4,000 of its vehicles are in parking lots and roadside parking spaces, while about 2,000 vehicles have been left idle at its local outlets, as people avoid travel, the newspaper reported.
The association urged the government to include the car rental business in its relief package and provide other aid options, such as subsidizing up to 40 percent of workers’ salaries for rental business and issuing a subsidy of NT$10,000 per month per chauffeur for three months.
The government could also help rental firms negotiate auto loan extensions with banks and offer them full-interest subsidies during the extension period, the association said.
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