Irish firm GoCar to invest €1m in car-sharing fleet

Company says move will primarily fund the acquisition of new vehicles to help meet booming demand

Irish car-sharing company GoCar has announced plans to invest €1 million in its fleet of vehicles this year, which it says will help it expand to new locations beyond traditional urban centres.

The company, owned by French car rental group Europcar, said on Thursday the investment will primarily fund the acquisition of new cars and vans to help it meet booming demand for its services.

By the end of the year, it expects to have more than 900 vehicles available to rent by the hour — an increase of about 40 from last year — in 700 locations nationally, up 15 per cent since the start of the pandemic.

In a statement, the company said demand for car sharing and rental remains “buoyant” after a sharp uptick in consumer interest in its services last year.

Paul McNeice, head of GoCar’s Irish division, said the company is determined to make car sharing “as accessible as possible”, despite the increase in demand for transport generally as public health restrictions have been relaxed.

“National preference and attitudes towards private car ownership and sustainable transport are constantly evolving and now, more than ever before, people are re-evaluating their individual transport requirements and considering flexibility, cost and, importantly, environmental impact,” Mr McNeice said.

“We hope that our investment in the national expansion of our car-sharing fleet will provide an effective transport solution for more people looking for alternative transport options.”

GoCar Sharing, the entity behind the Irish business, lost more than €109,000 in 2020, according to its most recent set of accounts. The accounts noted the company’s parent undertaking, French-registered Europcar Participations, had confirmed it would continue to provide financial support to the Irish company to meet its liabilities for at least 12 months.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times