Buy a Hotdog, Rent a Car, and Get Some Gas!
Posted on June 3, 2010
Life just isn’t the same without a ride. Even though maintaining an automobile is awfully expensive, it still beats the heck out of all the brutal fees associated with always renting a car or taxi, not to mention the embarrassment of constantly having to bum a ride from your friends. If only the rest of the world offered the ultra-cheap and ultra-convenient compact-car rentals available exclusively in Japan.
Niconico Rentacar is a ridiculously inexpensive, Japanese rent-a-car service that offers compact cars for only 2,525 yen or approximately $29.99. Although it may seem trivial to an American already used to $35.00 to $50.00 daily rental prices, it’s a first-rate bargain in Japan, where the average car rental costs between a whopping 6,000 to 15,000 yen, or $69.99 to $169.99. The catch is that the rental only applies for a measly 12 hours.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that their services are provided without any extraneous fees, as new applicants can acquire a lifetime membership without forking over either an initial fee or pesky annual charges. More importantly, each Niconico Rentacar station is situated at a gas station, which means you can buy a hotdog, rent a car AND fill your tank with gas! Of course the assumption is that the Japanese eat hotdogs…. but I digress!
Niconico chose to operate their business out of national gas-station franchises to drastically reduce overhead costs, thereby allowing them to offer cars at much more affordable prices.
For one, each gas station hosts its own car-washing machine, which according to the Mainichi Daily News translates to an immediate savings of 10-million yen.
In addition, the already employed gas-station employees operate the business themselves, which according to the Mainichi Daily News translates to another 200,000 to 300,000 yen per person.
Add those numbers up and it becomes readily apparent why the two-year-old business is expanding faster than the world debt crisis. With over 300 outlets already scattered throughout Japan, and a projected 700 more likely to pop up before 2012, Niconico Rentacar is looking to dig its heels deep into the car-rental industry and forever change the way in which it functions.