Jose Luis Fregoso has been in the car-rental business for the better part of 18 years -- long enough to know forces are gathering to usher in rapid change throughout his industry.
"We've found out that our own clients don't want to rent a car for 24 hours a day and leave it parked for most of that time," said Fregoso, general manager of Alamo Mexico, an independent branch of the car-rental company. "They want a car on demand. They want to move from point A to B, and they want it now, and they want it at a fair price."
Next month, Fregoso will launch a pilot project in Cancun, Mexico, that involves creation of a 50-car fleet of Nissan Versas and Sentras that operate as part of a short-term rental network.
He envisions the pilot as the first step in a broader transformation in which Alamo Mexico launches short-term rentals in 15 markets that may use as many as 1,300 vehicles.
He's not alone in projecting growing demand for shared mobility fleets.
Though short-term rentals have been around for decades in Europe and Zipcar was founded in the U.S. in 2000, there has been a more recent surge in industry interest and experimentation with short-term rentals and shared vehicles such as e-bikes and scooters.
Much of it has been underpinned by Vulog, a French company that provides a technology platform that allows anyone from manufacturers to dealerships to car-rental companies such as Alamo Mexico to start and manage fleets that could target a single mode of transportation or bundle them together.
"They have this opportunity to create this new identity in the new mobility realm," says Alex Thibault, Vulog's general manager in North America.