Pictured above: Jason Aquilina, Director and CEO of Avis Budget Malta (centre), with Alan Mercieca, sales manager of HandsOn Systems (on left), and Ray Meli, Avis used cars sales manager
Avis Budget Malta, which operates one of the largest car hire and vehicle leasing fleets in Malta, has appointed HandsOn Systems as their telematics supplier, with the devices being installed in all their rental cars using an on-demand tracking system.
According to sales manager Alan Mercieca, this is a lower cost, less intrusive technology than the 24×7 GPS tracking provided by HandsOn Fleet and is more suitable for hired cars or leased vehicles and even brand-new cars that have been bought on hire purchase.
“All you do is send a text (SMS) message with a code to the SIM that is in the individual car and, depending on the code, the device in the car will do one of two things: give you the car’s exact co-ordinates (replying via SMS) or disable the car when it is stationary with the engine off so that it cannot be re-started,” Mr Mercieca said.
He gave a number of ways this type of connected car is beneficial: a tourist could have parked the car somewhere out of the way and would not be able to find it; it could be ‘lost’ in a car park; the car could have broken down and the tourist would need the car hire company to locate the car; and a car buyer could default on instalment payments.
“If a client hires the car and does not return it at the end of the rental term despite repeated efforts for the client to be contacted, the owner has every right to retrieve his car,” Mr Mercieca said. “The device is highly secure and tamper-proof. Only the car hire operator is allowed to communicate with the tracking device.”
The market is currently warming to this type of device, with enquiries being received both from car rental and vehicle leasing firms and new car importers. “There are certain clients that are sensitive to privacy and we believe our on-demand tracking system addresses these concerns,” Geoffrey Farrugia, HandsOn Systems CEO said.
“We have been in discussion both with Avis Budget Malta and other potential clients for some months and I am glad that they are the first to have concluded such a big contract. HandsOn Systems is committed to helping transport and mobility companies implement connected car technologies to make driving vehicles safer for passengers, drivers and other road users through actionable insights.”
Avis Budget Malta Director and CEO, Jason Aquilina, is pleased with the initial results. “Thanks to HandsOn Systems’ on-demand tracker, we are now in a position to know where all our vehicles are at a given moment. This helps us with logistics and ensures we are turning around the business much faster.”