The car-rental culture has never been mainstream in Ukraine, unlike in most Western countries. The current estimated fleet of 2,000 rental vehicles for a population of more than 40 million people is hardly an impressive number.
However, leading car rental companies expect growth in 2017 in a market that, according to Haim Kapelnikov, chief executive officer of Avis Ukraine, might have $20 million to $25 million in annual revenue.
Olesya Momotyuk, financial manager at Sixt rental car in Ukraine, noted that Ukraine’s “car rental market is growing since the second half of 2015.” Sixt and major international brands Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Budget and United are all present on the Ukrainian market. Among local car rental brands, the biggest one is BLS.
Dmitry Vakulenko, secretary general of International Car Rental Association in Ukraine, told the Kyiv Post that local car rental companies have a roughly equal share of foreign and Ukrainian customers. The association, among other things, helps new rental companies meet international standards of customer service.
The market has built-in limitations in Ukraine, since most people use a well-developed and affordable public transportation system, which includes bus service for local and long-distance travel and a reliable railroad service for traveling to other parts of Ukraine. In addition, long-distance carpooling services, such as BlaBlaCar, also represent competition for car rental companies, especially when a trip involves crossing the border into another country.
Some car rental companies in Ukraine allow customers to take a vehicle to the European Union for an additional fee, ranging from 60–90 euros per trip, including insurance. Others, like Sixt, do not allow, to avoid potential difficulties with accident assistance, repair or insurance. BLS also does not currently allow rentals to the EU, Anton Tyumentsev, customer service manager at BLS, told the Kyiv Post.
Most companies also do not allow travel to Russia, which invaded Ukraine three years ago and continues to wage a war that has claimed 10,000 lives in the eastern Donbas.
Overall, short-term rentals (under seven days) prevail.
Avis has a “Hello, Weekend!” rental deal, which allows customers to rent a vehicle for a long weekend at a discount price, with pick-up on Friday morning and a drop-off on Monday by 5 p. m. Prices for such a four-day rental range from $96 for a Ford Fiesta with a manual transmission to $799 for a Porsche Cayenne with an automatic one.
Those looking to rent a car in Ukraine may find the process to be less complicated than they expected.
Pavel Triguba, a rental representative at Avis, told the Kyiv Post that a renter needs a valid passport and driver’s license. Customers from Arabic and Asian countries need to provide an international driver’s license with Roman spelling of their names, alongside their original driver’s license.
An international driver’s license can be obtained in a customer’s home country.
In addition, the renter has to be at least 21 years old to rent an economy class vehicle and 25 years of age for business and luxury class cars.
The driver must also have at least two years of experience behind the wheel.
One can choose from a wide range of car models, sizes and prices.
Renting a Tesla for a week through BLS in Ukraine will cost $2,100. SUVs and vans are also available.
In addition to the rental cost, a security deposit ranging from 500 to 4,000 euros will be held from a customer’s credit card. Debit cards and cash generally are not accepted, with a few exceptions.
When it comes to insurance, standard car insurance is included in the rental price, while additional insurance may also be purchased, allowing a renter to reduce or eliminate financial liability in case of an accident.
Accessories such as a GPS or a child car seat may be rented for a fee. Additional services are also available, such as registering an additional driver at the time of rental or even renting a car with a driver.
Andriy Krit, marketing manager at Sixt rent a car Ukraine, told the Kyiv Post that “a customer may order a car to be delivered or picked up within the limits of the city in which it was rented, for a fee of 25 euros.”
For those looking to rent a car in one city and return it in a different one, Sixt also has the lowest one-way rental fee on the market right now of 50 euros. Companies like Avis, United and Budget charge 115–200 euros, depending on the city and region of the car dropoff.