Ahead of the 3rd Round of the FIA Formula E 2015/16 Season in Punta del Este, Uruguay, JWGP spoke to Mahindra Formula E Team sponsor Avis about their involvement with the team and perspective on EV technology. Darren Peacock, Director of Brand Marketing EMEA, Avis Budget Group offers his insights:
Jon Wilde (JW): How did Avis come to be involved with the Mahindra Formula E team?
Darren Peacock (DP): Avis was introduced to the Mahindra Racing team through a corporate relationship that we had established. Avis recognised the potential of the sport and it generated a real enthusiasm with everyone who became involved with the negotiation.
JW: What initially attracted Avis to Formula E?
DP: Formula E’s ambitious global plans align with our own global footprint and commercial strategy. The championing of sustainability and clean energy was a refreshing and much needed angle in motor sport which matches our own vision of mobility in the future.
JW: What attracted Avis to Mahindra? Do you have any deals outside of Formula E?
DP: In Mahindra Racing we recognised a company who were not only committed to the sport but also developing automotive technology for everyday travellers
JW: Formula E have taken a very different approach to other racing categories in the way in which the series engages with fans, did this influence your decision to get involved with the series? Do you think it is paying off?
DP: FanBoost is a really unique aspect of the sport which puts fans at the heart of the sport which certainly appealed to us as an organisation which works hard to offer an unrivalled customer experience.
JW: Building on the EV (electric vehicle) agenda, how relevant is the technology and the cars to Avis now and in the future? Do Avis have EV’s in the company fleet already?
DP: EV technology is extremely important to the future of mobility and Avis is involved in a number of projects across the globe, in the UK we offer a Hybrid range while in Denmark we operate the largest Electric vehicle fleet for a car rental company in Europe and we continue to work with manufacturers on future developments.
JW: Do Avis plan to increase motorsport sponsorship in future to cover other categories?
DP: At present Formula E is our current focus although we are constantly reviewing opportunities through our manufacturer partners.
JW: Does Formula E involvement represent good value for money in terms of consumer/ brand awareness?
DP: We partnered with Formula E towards the end of the 2014/15 season and so this year’s season will be our first full season to measure the performance of our sponsorship.
JW: Would you encourage other consumer facing companies to consider Formula E as a promotional platform?
DP: Obviously each company has to evaluate what property is relevant to their product or service.For a very new competition the sport has already attracted some of the most respected brands in the world so anyone who joins will be in good company. From a great start it is only going to grow in popularity especially amongst a younger audience.
JW: How would Avis like to see the category develop in the coming years? (additional venues,increased vehicle performance, increased vehicle differentiation)
DP: Given our global footprint at Avis with 5,450 rental station around the world we would love to see expansion to further markets. Expansion in to key territories including the Middle East would expand the sports appeal and customer base while meeting the strengths of our network.
JW: Have Avis looked at using the Mahindra Formula E team as a basis for business to business deals, for example something like AVIS and IHG (other Mahindra sponsor) offering fan packages for race events or as Mahindra supporters?
DP: As a travel specialist we consistently partner with other premium brands in the industry to provide added value to our customers. Specifically for Formula E we joined up with IHG to create a competition offering fans tickets to the last race of the season and accommodation with IHG. This attracted much interest so is something we are keen to repeat.
Thanks to Avis for this candid perspective on Formula E engagement, best of luck to the Mahindra team ahead of this weekends action.
To see more on the Mahindra Racing Formula E team click here
To check out the latest offers from Avis in your area click here