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Thu 22 Jan 2009 02:01 PM

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Credit crunch drives business for car leasing firm

Thrifty Dollar sees rise in leasing deals in region amid car loans crackdown.

A Gulf-based car leasing chief said on Thursday that the worldwide financial crisis had boosted business as more people were turning to rentals after being unable to raise finance to buy new vehicles.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group announced that it was seeing an increase in local car leasing across the MENA region, as a result of the economic downturn.

"As the Middle East starts to feel the impact of the global recession, we're seeing an opportunity in the car rental industry to help those unable to purchase new cars," said Sam Eltibi, executive director, MENA and Asia Pacific.

"As banks are reining in their lending policies, consumers are unable to obtain credit to buy cars and car leasing offers an economical and reliable alternative."

He added: "Corporate restructuring has also caused consumers to take a more short-term view rather than investing in a car, with its related maintenance and insurance costs."

While many companies are streamlining operations during the global slowdown, Eltibi said the company was looking to expand during 2009 with negotiations currently in their final stages for markets such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

"The Middle East remains a heavily car-reliant market and we are adapting our strategy to ensure that consumers have the transport they need under the current economic conditions," added Eltibi.

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