Business Irish

Thursday 27 October 2016

Cosgraves bring in GoCar to new builds to attract millenials

Published 23/08/2015 | 02:30

GoCar Picture Conor McCabe Photography.
GoCar Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

Gocar, the car-sharing service owned by Colm Menton, has teamed up with the Cosgrave building brothers as it expands in Dublin.

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The Cosgraves approached GoCar to install bases in several of their newest housing developments in a bid to attract young, professional, carless millennials.

Car-sharing, which allows users to rent cars for as little as an hour at a time, is popular across the EU. However, it has been slower to take off in Ireland.

GoCar is the only provider. The company essentially acts as a car club; users pay an entry fee plus a monthly subscription and are charged an hourly rate and petrol costs for each trip taken. Insurance and tax are covered by the company.

The Cosgrave brothers are some of Ireland's most prolific developers. Their business was founded in 1979 by the three brothers, sons of Jack Cosgrave, also a notable property developer.

Loans attached to their companies passed into Nama - with borrowings reportedly reaching €2bn - but they are reported to have worked with Nama and their company remains one of the country's biggest building firms.

GoCar has established bases at three of the Cosgrave property brothers' luxury Dublin schemes - at Bracken Park in Castleknock, Honey Park in Dun Laoghaire and the Beacon South Quarter near Sandyford Industrial Estate.

Car-sharing is not the Cosgrave's only play on the 'sharing economy'. In some new schemes, they have also installed community hot-water heating systems. Technical director Michael Cosgrave is pushing an energy-efficiency agenda.

From its launch two years ago, GoCar has grown to 100 cars and 5,000 users. It swung into profitability this year.

Founder Menton also owns Europcar in Ireland, one of the country's biggest traditional car-hire businesses, with over 200 staff and 16 branches. It operates around 5,000 vehicles at peak. Europcar and GoCar can share vehicles as a result. His previous investments include Xtravision, food ingredients business Redbrook Group and Cambridge Leasing, which went into receivership in the early 1990s.

As well as the Cosgraves, GoCar has teamed up with Irish Rail and Luas to install short-term car bases at select train stations and Luas stops.

It is eyeing expansion into Galway, Limerick and Waterford, though south and north Dublin - specifically, Dundrum and Fingal - will be its first targets.

The service was first piloted in Cork with the support of Cork County Council, but had limited success there.

It is also building ties with Airbnb. GoCar and the global online lodgings giant have talked about collaborating. Members and users of both Airbnb and GoCar were invited to the exploratory session to make suggestions on how the services can co-operate.

Sunday Indo Business

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