By on April 9, 2008

lg_enterprise-logo.jpgHertz isn't the only rental car company trying to save the planet one Buick LaCrosse at a time. The AP (via Google News) reports that Enterprise is lathering-up for a bit of greenwashing. The nation's largest rental company is opening four "green branches" in that bastion of environmental awareness: Atlanta, Georgia. In response to "consumer demand," about 60 percent of the vehicles offered in the designated green stores will be hybrids or other fuel-efficient vehicles. Experts say that rental customers looking to buy a hybrid are driving current demand (so to speak). No surprise there; rental companies charge a $5 to $15 a day hybrid premium. Enterprise, Hertz and Avis have about 10k hybrids in their fleets. With over 1.8m vehicles in rental fleets across the nation, Cobalts, Corollas and Elantras are destined to remain the rental companies' bread and butter vehicles– even as they put their green creds on the line.

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10 Comments on “Enterprise Rent-a-Car Opens Atlanta “Green” Branches...”

  • avatar

    Hey, if they can make an extra buck playing into a renter’s environmental sensitivities, who are we to object?

  • avatar

    I worked for Hertz for 6 months at ATL locations in Dallas, Cartersville, and Villa Rica. I never had anyone so much as ask about a “greener” car. My only experience with that whole thing came when we offered a Prius to a gentleman renter. He responsed with “Hell no.” So I think I gave him the Impala SS.

    But who knows. Maybe I was just in the bad parts of town.

  • avatar

    I’ve looked on the Enterprise website for all those car-sharing options that are supposed to be threatening ZipCar, but find nothing more granular than traditional rent-by-the-day plans.

    One of our consultants rented a Prius a few weeks ago. He called here saying he might be late because he couldn’t start it, but fortunately our Prius owner talked him through. Seems he, the renter, was waiting for a big ‘vrooom’ to tell him the engine had started. Priuses don’t do that.

  • avatar

    haha i had a few expereiences like that. Old people do not mix well with electric cars.

  • avatar

    An engineer from my company was issued a Prius in Seattle. At first he was somewhat excited to try the new car, but soon he realized that it is not for the technologically challenged and reported that the starter and shifter were not entirely intuitive. He later lost the “key” and had to have it towed to a dealer. The new “key” was valued at $1200. That’s about 5% of the cost of the car.

    Enterprise already has a green logo. Isn’t that enough to save the planet?

  • avatar

    I’ve driven one. If you don’t have a coach, you may well be confused. Must be weird to switch back and forth between a Prius and a more conventional car (esp. a conventional car with a manual).

  • avatar

    Kix… are you saying you are unable to drive an automatic transmission car because you usually drive a manual? I’m pretty sure you’re in the minority there…

    Replace a regular slushbox shifter with the Prius shift nub and press Start instead of turn a key, and everything else is the same. If my mother, who grew up on a farm in China with no electricity, can learn the Prius in 2 minutes, so can any Enterprise customer. If he/she can’t, maybe the Enterprise staff should think twice about loaning out their $20k+ machine.

  • avatar

    coupdetat, I was thinking of that initial two seconds’ of adjustment when I switch back to the automatic… Hop in, key in, grab shifter, step on brake and clutch…! Hello?! Oh, right, no clutch… no reason to grab the shifter.. Shifting between the Prius and a stick will probably be seem equally or slightly more odd from time to time.

    Once I get past starting the car, I’m fine.

  • avatar

    I have an interesting take on the above quandary. My 3 vehicles all have different parking brake types: the ’04 Camry LE has the console-mounted hand brake, the ’05 Camry XLE has a step-on pedal, and the ’98 Frontier has an old-fashioned dash-mounted cane handle (just like a ’55 Chevy).

    So I sometimes find myself going for phantom pedals or handles when I switch from one vehicle to the other.

  • avatar

    I could actually see shelling out for the Prius or Civic Hybrid if you were going on vacation or traveling for work.

    For real fun in control variation try hopping between a Volvo 13speed and Sterling 7speed semi-tractors, a Toyota Lift truck and a Mazda B Series pickup.

    I knew I was wore out from a long day when I used the turn signal in my pickup to get into reverse like I would on the ‘Yota. I’d also find myself double clutching the Mazda and reaching for the non- existent hi/low splitter on the gear shift.

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