Can Udrive convince more Saudi drivers to move on from ownership to car rentals? Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The pay-by-the-minute car leasing portal Udrive has made its entry into Saudi Arabia – a move which could speed up profitability from the Gulf markets within the next 12 month. Nine of 10 people in Saudi Arabia currently use a privately owned vehicle to go to work, and Udrive will need to make a compelling argument about leasing instead.

“We are committed to providing commuters with the best driving experience at the most affordable prices,” said Nicholas Watson, Co-founder and CEO of Udrive. “We believe our car sharing model will reduce commuting costs for residents, tourists, students and startups while supporting the nation’s long term development goals by reducing vehicle emissions and decreasing pressure on infrastructure.”

The traditional car rental market in the Kingdom is valued at approximately $1 billion and could reach $1.18 billion by 2026 .

Udrive will launch in Riyadh, the ‘40th largest city economy worldwide at present and gearing to become the 10th by 2030’. The city's population forecast to nearly double this decade, to 15 million by 2030. ‘Riyadh has been identified as a strong market for short- and long-term car leasing and rentals,” said a statement. “The average percentage ratio of car sharing cars to passenger cars in Riyadh is 0.02 per cent compared to a global average of 0.5 per cent in major cities, presenting a significant opportunity.”

Udrive users can drive from SR0.60 a minute or SR 130 per day (up to 200 km), which includes free petrol, comprehensive insurance, and most of the parking fees paid. “Car sharing enables users to save 25-50 per cent on commuting costs, depending on the vehicle they drive,” said a statement.