Impala Car Hire will next year open new branches in Zambia and Botswana as it spreads its operations into the region. The expansion comes at a time the local market is subdued and beset by foreign currency shortages.
The car hiring company recently opened a branch in Cape Town bringing the total to seven in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Impala Chief Executive Officer and founder Thompson Dondo said the company was spreading their operations in Southern Africa and by the first quarter of next year, a branch in Zambia would be operational.
“As Impala, we are trying to spread our wings in Southern Africa that is why you see we added another branch last week. This brings the branch count to three in South Africa.” He said the company would open a branch in Zambia in the first quarter of next year and then move to Botswana in the last quarter.
“Business has not been well for us in Zimbabwe because we need foreign currency to buy new vehicles. Cars have to be constantly replaced and the forex issue has been one of our major setbacks. We have however managed to forge ahead despite these challenges,” he said.
The other major worry was on insurance companies. Dondo believes that insurance companies are undervaluing cars. “You buy a car for about $40 000 but then they value it for less than that.
“This is the biggest let down,” he said.
Dondo said the major drivers of business in Zimbabwe were parastatals, Parliament and some companies while in South Africa is largely dominated by individuals.
“In South Africa people hire cars as individuals and that way business is better but here in Zimbabwe our market are companies and parastatals,” Dondo said.