9 December 2008
More Kiwis Opt For Free Ride With ‘Transfercar’
More and more Kiwis are taking advantage of free travel deals throughout the country with new Transfercar.
Since launching in September 2008, New Zealand’s only free travel website – www.transfercar.co.nz – now has 1,300
registered users with 11 major rental car companies having joined up. Some 14,000 people have visited the site to date.
Some 178 free cars were listed in November alone, a 79% increase over October figures. With the holiday season fast
approaching, Transfercar founders, Espen Grimstad and Brian Karlson, expect to see numbers escalate further.
“We’ve been delighted with the response and feedback to Transfercar, which was developed in response to an ongoing
problem rental car companies experience when trying to return cars to their home destinations.
“The model is obviously working really well and we’ve created a ‘win win’ solution for car rental companies and the
public alike,” says Espen.
Transfercar provides travellers with free car, caravan and campervan rentals to dozens of New Zealand locations
including in some instances, free petrol, ferry crossings and insurance as well.
Christchurch to Auckland is by far the most popular relocation route, correlating with the high number of vehicles
supplied by the rental companies for this particular route.
“But we are not just offering free vehicles to the popular city destinations. We have vehicles needing to be returned
from places like Greymouth, Picton, Blenheim and Queenstown too.” explains Espen.
According to Espen, rental vehicles tend to pile up where they are not needed and getting them returned to their ‘home
destinations’ is expensive. Transport companies charge around $450 to get a single car back from the South Island to the
“Rental companies often need to wait until they have enough cars at a single location to make returning them
economically viable, meaning vehicles can be out of circulation for quite long periods of time,” explains Espen.
And while some rental car firms try to offer their own free vehicle return service, their offerings are not widely
promoted or easy for the public to access.
“As an independent and specialized online service solely offering free travel through the return of rented vehicles,
Transfercar can facilitate contact with potential drivers much faster than an individual car rental company can and we
have access to returning relocation drivers,” says Espen.
Transfercar charges car rental companies a fixed fee per relocation. Rental car owners submit relocation opportunities
to the Transfercar database via the website. Drivers can view and request to drive a vehicle through the website, SMS
text messaging or by email after signing up to the Transfercar network on www.transfercar.co.nz.
Background on Espen Grimstad and Brian Karlson:
The inspiration behind Transfercar came after Espen took a part-time job with a car rental company while studying in
early 2007. After seeing how much money was spent on transporting unallocated cars between rental car branches, Espen
decided there had to be a better way.
It wasn’t long before Espen joined forces with his former university lecturer, Brian Karlson, to take the concept to the
Soon afterwards, Espen and Brian decided to enter Transfercar in the University of Auckland’s business plan competition
called Spark* - a move they felt would help them build a stronger business plan for the service and explore future
Their hard work paid off when they were announced one of the winners in the $10K category, and from there, were able to
attract an investor in the project.
A year later, the Transfercar website has now been launched.