First Car Rental and Hire

First Car Rental is one of the cheap car rental companies in South Africa as it offers cheap car hire that’s not too heavy on the pocket in case. However, if you’re looking for something more, there are also luxury vehicles in their incredible fleet to end your car rental search.

1st Car Rental currently enjoys a ten per cent share from the car hire market in South Africa, according to the South African Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association statistics. It’s also one of a few rental companies that are homegrown in South Africa’s car hire industry.




With up to 470 employees to assist you, First Car Rental is a force to be reckoned with in the South African car hire business. As evidence of its brilliance, it’s often considered one of the premier vehicle hire companies in the country and has been providing car rentals in South Africa for nearly twenty years.


1st First Car Rental’s Fleet

As you would expect of a renowned name in the car hire industry, First Car Rental has an impressive fleet of vehicles for hire. Whether you’reFirst Car Hire looking for a budget vehicle to get you from point A to B or a luxury car with comfort to match, this company has it all.

First Car Rental’s fleet stands at approximately 7000 vehicles, and there are around 51 First Car Rental branches around the country. This number includes small to large passenger cars and manual and automatic transmission vehicles. The car rental firm also has a van and truck rental division.

These vehicles are all grouped, and you reserve cars using one of these letter groupings. This means when, for example, you book a car from group A, you’ll get provided with any vehicle from that group. While First Car Rental does accept requests for specific vehicles, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the car you want.


Vehicle Groups at First Car Rental

These are the vehicles you can expect to get when you reserve a car from one of the groups at 1st Car Hire.

  • Group A (manual): Datsun Go, Suzuki Celerio, Renault Kwid, and the Suzuki S-Presso.
  • Group B (manual): Suzuki Swift, Ford Figo AMB, Suzuki Dzire, Toyota Etios, Kia Picanto, VW UP!, and Nissan Micra.
  • Group C (manual): Ford Figo, Toyota Quest, Nissan Almera, Suzuki Ciaz GL Man, and Honda Amaze Comfort.
  • Group D (automatic): Honda Amaze CVT, Nissan Almera, Toyota Starlet XS Auto
  • Group E (automatic): Suzuki Ciaz GL AT, Toyota Quest CVT, Toyota Quest Auto, Honda Ballade, and Suzuki Ciaz GLX AT.
  • Group G (automatic): Mercedes C180 Classic, Mercedes A-200, BMW F30, Mercedes C-Class Edition C, and BMW 218l.
  • Group H (manual): GWM Steed 2.0D, GWM Steed 2.0P, Nissan NP300 2.5 LWB Turbo, and Nissan NP300 2.0LT Bakkie.
  • Group I (manual): Suzuki Ertiga.
  • Group J (manual with canopy): GWM Steed 2.0D, GWM Steed 2.0P, Nissan NP300 2.5 LWB Turbo, Nissan NP300 2.0LT Bakkie.
  • Group K (automatic): Citroen C5 Aircross, Subaru Forester, and Nissan X-Trail Xtronic CVT SE.
  • Group L (automatic): Volvo XC60 D and Land Rover Discovery Sport Dies.
  • Group QA (automatic): VW Kombi TDI DSG.
  • Group R (manual): VW Polo 1.4 Trend, Suzuki Baleno, Toyota Starlet XI, and Renault Clio Expression.
  • Group U (manual): Haval H2 City, Honda BR-V, Ford EcoSport.
  • Group W (manual): VW Polo Sedan Comfortline and Mazda 3.
  • Group V (automatic): Ford Ranger 2.2D Double Cab Auto, GWM P-Series, and Nissan NP300 2.5TDI D/Cab.
  • Group YE (manual): Toyota Quantum GL11S DF.
  • Group Z (automatic): Citroen C3 Aircross, Mazda 3 Individual, Honda Ballade Comfort, and VW Polo Sedan Auto.


1st Car Rental Chauffeur Services

In addition to providing rental car service, First Car Rental also offers a chauffeur service in the form of transfer. This is the perfect service for anyone who doesn’t want to drive, can’t drive themselves or wants to avoid relying on a taxi or public transport. The company ferries clients from wherever they are to their chosen location.

There are three main direct transfer services: airport shuttles, business, and personal transfers. This service is available in most major city centres and airports across South Africa 24 hours a day. Although, an after-hours surcharge applies for transfers between 21:01 and 05:29.

The airport shuttles take you from the airport to your hotel, your meeting, or wherever you want to go as per the booking arrangements. Business transfers offer reliable and punctual transfers for all business-related travel. Personal transfers are a direct transfer available for any location for those travelling leisurely.

Their car hire services also cover wedding car hire, with an impressive fleet of rental cars on offer. Arrive in a chauffeur-driven, affordable luxury vehicle that’s set aside for your big day and can be booked well in advance.


First Car Rental South Africa Hire Nationwide

First Car Hire has around 51 branches throughout the main towns, cities, and main airports. This includes car hire in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, George, and more. They have multiple pick-up and drop-off locations throughout the country in those locations, including those in city centres and the airport.

Additionally, clients can pick up a vehicle in one branch and drop it off at another. This can be extremely valuable if you don’t have time to make it back to the First Car Rental branch you originally picked up the car. Their central reservation base is in Pomona, Johannesburg.

First Car Rental Durban, First Car Rental Cape Town, and First Car Rental Johannesburg are the three most popular rental city branches. Despite this, rest assured that you’ll receive the same service excellence that car hire at First Car Rental is renowned for at any branch nationwide.


First Car Rental, South Africa Innovators

The First Car Hire slogan, ‘First in Car Hire First in Service’ runs quite true as the company is incredibly innovative.

They were the first rental car company to introduce the green mobile check-out facility to South Africa, which is named “Show & Go Mobile Checkout”. Their travellers can apply to join the Show & Go loyalty club, after which they are given a personal Show & Go card. This enables clients to just walk straight from the plane to a rental agent at their preferred airport branch, produce their Show & Go card, and they will be shown to their car.

This takes away the hassle of queuing after a flight and enables clients to drive away a few minutes after disembarking. This service was first implemented with the corporate world in mind but has become a favourite among all customers.

First Car Hire staff is offered training for personal and professional development. This ensures that their team provides great service for all their clients.

Also in thinking about their customers’ needs and requirements, they have a bi-monthly newsletter, ‘First Travel’, to bring their clients up-to-date with the latest car hire news.

In addition to all the wonderful services that First Car Rental offers, they also have twenty-four-hour roadside assistance that clients can access. Upon request, a customer can also get GPS for an added fee.


Long-Term Cheap Car Hire

In addition to the general short-term car rentals, First Car Rental offers car hire that exceeds 30 days. It’s the perfect choice for anyone in the country for an extended holiday or who intends to go on a road trip in South Africa, visit various cities, and the like.

Customers get to choose from the same pool of vehicles as other short-term options.


1st Car Hire Awards

First Car Hire several awards for a variety of services worth recognition from different organisations. It has been included in the list of the top 500 of the best-managed companies in South Africa. These awards allow their clients to have more confidence in their services and products.

First Car Hire has services that certainly puts it far ahead of the pack. The company has proven beyond doubt that clients’ needs are at the core of the business. They realise that they will have no business to run without giving the client the best of what they want.

This realisation has won them many awards as they provide customer-centric service. From chauffeuring their customers door-to-door, making the booking process easy, and a varied fleet of vehicles, what more could clients ask for?


What Do You Need to Rent a Car from First Car Rental?

While First Car Rental loves nothing more than providing great service to customers, not every person can take advantage of this service. Whether you’re trying to hire a car for the first or hundredth time, you must qualify for car rental. These are the requirements that need to be met.


A Valid Driver’s License

Anyone booking a vehicle rental needs to have a valid driver’s license. This includes both the main driver and the additional driver, who’ll cost R450 extra per rental period.

All clients 23 years and older need to have had a license for two years or more. Anyone younger than that must have had their license for a minimum of three years. Also, a young driver surcharge will apply for anyone who’s part of the latter group.

Anyone from a foreign country needs to present their license and passport when hiring a car. If you possess a non-English license, ensure it’s translated into English with an international driver’s permit.

Furthermore, you’ll need to produce additional identification methods or conduct a security check with the branch manager for vehicles in groups D, E, Z, K, U, V, I, QA, and YE.



First Car Rental only accepts credit cards as a payment method. The credit card used to process the payment must belong to the person who wants to rent a vehicle and it’ll need to be produced when picking up the car.

A deposit also needs to be paid, and it will be returned to you once the company has taken what it’s owed (i.e. fuel). The refund normally happens within 48 hours of the vehicle being returned.

Further, your credit card will be charged R350 for every traffic fine you get while driving the rented vehicle. This is a handling fee separate from the fine which you’ll have to pay entirely by yourself.


Breakdowns, Accidents, and Roadside Assistance

In the unfortunate event that you get into an accident, you’re a victim of crime, or need some form of roadside assistance, First Car Rental is available to help. They have set out a process that needs to be followed by all drivers to ensure the issue is resolved properly.


When Involved in an Accident

If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll need to contact First Car Rental immediately on their toll-free emergency number. Afterwards, follow the typical procedure of reporting the accident to the police and obtaining a case number. Also, be sure to get the particulars of anyone else involved in the accident.

On your side, you’ll just need to inform the other driver(s) that the vehicle is rented from First Car Rental and give them your rental agreement number. If the car needs to be towed, the expense will be solely yours as they don’t cover those costs.


When You’re a Victim of Theft

Likewise, if you’re a victim of theft, you’ll need to inform First Car Rental and report the incident to the police. Afterwards, you’ll need to submit the case number to the company. Beware that 1st Car Rental doesn’t cover any personal belongings that may be lost during the theft.

In case of either theft or an accident, a handling fee of R825 will apply. Also, a First Car Rental Accident & Theft report must be completed within 24 hours of the theft or accident. You’ll find these at any of their branches.


Roadside Assistance

Despite the affordability of the First Car Rental prices, clients enjoy premium services including roadside assistance for various issues. Although, many of these are provided at a surcharge.

Should you have a flat tyre, First Car Rental will replace it with a spare tyre at the renter’s expense. If a spare’s unavailable, the car will be towed and you’ll have to pay for that too.

A battery jump-start is also provided at the renter’s expense unless the battery dies due to mechanical failure. In case you run out of fuel, you’ll get a limited supply delivered to you and the cost will be added to your account.

In the case of the cars’ keys being stuck inside the car, a locksmith is provided at the renter’s expense. The same applies to any winching/extrication service that may be needed.



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