Cars With Zero Mileage: People Are Utilizing Rental Cars For A Shocking Reason


When we hear that people are sleeping at the wheel, we immediately think of the dangers of driving while sleepy. However, in Japan, this is more common than you would expect, with a slight twist. 

Surveys have shown that Japanese rental cars are often returned with zero mileage clocked, which is weird considering that cars are rented and expected to be driven. But the Japanese people are apparently using the cars for purposes other than driving. These activities include using the rental cars to catch up on some much needed rest, a private space to do some work or even to brush up on language skills. 

Photo by  from  Pexels

Photo by from Pexels

In an industry survey by Orix Auto, as many as one in eight of their rental cars, or a big percentage of its 230,000 registered users, were not driving their rented vehicles and instead were returned without any mileage clocked. Times24, another car rental service which has more than 1.2 million registered users, found some of their clients rented cars to nap, work or even use their rented vehicles as storage space for personal belongings when nearby regular lockers were full.

 One respondent, a company worker in his early 30s, was quoted as saying: “I rented a car to eat a boxed meal that I bought at a convenience store because I couldn’t find anywhere else to have lunch.”

Image from:  Previous

Image from: Previous

NTT Docomo, which owns a similar car rental service, found in a survey that most of the non-motoring respondents saying they used them to sleep in or to talk on the phone to family, friends and business clients.Some preferred to take advantage of the peace and quiet to watch TV or practise their singing or spoken English.

“Cars can be used as a private space,” a Docomo official was quoted as saying. “People used our vehicles in more ways than we expected.”

The prevalence of these rental car trends can be due to the fact that car rental services in Japan are fairly cheap. Cars can be reserved online in Japan for as little as 400 yen (RM15.25) for half an hour. In the case of Times24, convenience plays a major role as well, because their rental vehicles are available for collection from more than 12,000 locations across Japan.

Image from:  TimesRental

Image from: TimesRental

However, at least one of the car rental companies doesn’t condone the use of their cars for anything other than driving. Orix was quick to remind its customers of harm to the environment when they leave their engines running idle.

“Motorists should shut off their engines when they’re not driving, and we do not recommend that our customers rent vehicles for purposes other than traveling,” an Orix official said, “We believe it’s best for our cars to be used for driving.”

Well, it’s good to know that Japanese drivers are keeping it creative with the way they utilize rental vehicles. What do you think? Leave a comment below!