By Sean Goulding Carroll |
13-01-2023 (updated: 13-01-2023 )
Rental companies expressed “deep concern” about what they see as the “growing exclusion of the car rental sector” in a letter to the European Commission. [Sergey Nivens /]
Languages: Français

This article has been updated with a response from the European Commission.
Avis, Europcar, and Hertz have written to the European Commission to share their frustration at being left out of EU-organised urban mobility discussions.
The car rental giants are particularly aggrieved at their exclusion from the Expert Group on Urban Mobility (EGUM), a platform that gathers transport players to discuss how to cut emissions in Europe’s cities.
In a letter sent on Thursday (12 January) to Henrik Hololei, the director-general of the EU’s transport ministry, the rental companies expressed “deep concern” about what they see as the “growing exclusion of the car rental sector” from formal discussions on green urban mobility in the EU.
“Our sector represents one of the earliest forms of mobility as a service (MaaS) and expects to play an important role in the shift from a vehicle ‘ownership’ to a vehicle ‘usage’ model, helping to reduce urban congestion and pollution,” states the letter.
“Excluding our industry’s views in discussions on the future of urban mobility therefore represents a missed opportunity for the Commission to benefit from our expertise and ideas” on various topics, the letter continues.
Under the name “the Car Rental Coalition”, the group also laments the perception of car rental companies as “traditional”, whilst car-sharing companies are seen as more progressive and better suited to help meet emissions reduction targets.
Innovation in the field of car rental, including a shift to app-based access to vehicles, has blurred the line with car-sharing offerings, with the coalition branding car rental and car sharing “variations of essentially the same service”.
Car rental companies want to be considered “on an equal footing with ride-hailing and bike/scooter sharing”, as car sharing companies are framing themselves as a means to reduce car ownership.
The coalition has requested a meeting with officials from the Commission’s directorate general for transport to discuss the car rental sector’s contribution to urban mobility and to understand why they have been overlooked in EU discussions.
“Our experience and expertise in this area cannot be replicated by other accepted stakeholders such as ride-hailing association MOVE EU or car manufacturers association ACEA,” the coalition writes.
Other members of the EGUM include electromobility association AVERE, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and public transport operators advocacy group UITP.
Asked by EURACTIV why car rental companies were not selected for the EGUM, a European Commission official explained that 90 applications were received for 25 available places. While the car rental coalition was not chosen, it has been put on a reserve list for the expert group.
The official also said that the Commission has the power to invite other experts to take part in the work of the group, if additional expertise is required on a particular topic.
The European Commission uses expert groups to inform upcoming legislation, with industry and NGOs invited to provide opinions and recommendations. 
While not paid, positions on expert groups are highly sought after as a way of shaping EU policy. Gaining a seat provides organisations with intimate access to policymakers, helping them to mould upcoming rules in line with their aims.
The composition of expert groups is also considered a snapshot of the most important organisations working in a particular area.
Following a public call for applications, the European Commission selects the members for each expert group. The group’s recommendations are not binding, though often prove influential.
The EGUM was established in October 2022 to help implement the EU’s Urban Mobility Framework, which provides cities with recommendations on ways to reduce transport emissions whilst making it easier to get around.
[Edited by Frédéric Simon]
Languages: Français