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Car/Limo Rentals

 September 06, 2001
Avis Europe And Inchcape Launch 'AutoCascade'

 Avis Europe plc and Inchcape plc have announced the formation of a Pan-European vehicle remarketing joint venture -- AutoCascade -- which will be owned equally by the shareholders, Avis and Inchcape. It will provide vehicle manufacturers, rental and leasing companies with a significantly improved method of selling pre-owned vehicles.

Operating initially in the UK market, AutoCascade will pre-sell vehicles nearing the end of their rental or leasing life through a variety of channels, including the original manufacturer's own franchised dealer network, independent dealers using Inchcape's Vehicle Sourcing division and
directly to private customers via Autobytel UK.

AutoCascade will focus on nearly new vehicles where the total UK market is around 450,000 vehicles a year and the continental European market is estimated at 2,000,000. On average, a nearly new vehicle returned to the manufacturer can spend three months in storage once its rental life is over
which results in lower residual values and higher costs. AutoCascade will reduce the time and costs involved in remarketing for vehicle providers and offer more effective nearly new car sourcing for dealers and end customers.

The new venture will draw on the strengths of both its shareholders; Avis has well established and strong manufacturer relationships, and is Europe's largest fleet operator; Inchcape brings an in-depth knowledge of the vehicle supply chain from its dealer operations as well as fleet management and logistics capabilities.

In addition to the new joint venture between the parties, the Avis-owned yourautochoice.com sales channel will be amalgamated into Inchcape-owned Autobytel UK in return for a 10% shareholding in Autobytel UK. The benefits of this consolidation include IT, marketing, call centre and back
office synergies and a more comprehensive car service offering to customers through the combination of Autobytel UK's new and used car products with yourautochoice's nearly-new car product.

Mark McCafferty, CEO Avis Europe said, "We are delighted to be partnering Inchcape in this initiative. This new joint venture will further improve the way nearly new vehicles are sold within the trade and into the market and we believe that there can be residual value improvement for car manufacturers
exploiting these opportunities. The amalgamation of yourautochoice.com and Autobytel UK is an appropriate consolidation in the online car retailing sector"

Peter Johnson, Group Chief Executive of Inchcape said: "This joint venture enables Inchcape to broaden its vehicle remarketing activities in the UK and provides a strong platform for entry into Europe. AutoCascade, in combination with Inchcape Vehicle Sourcing, Autobytel UK and Eurofleet, will significantly reduce remarketing timescales, lower storage costs and ultimately maximise residual values for fleet owners."