Jack Taylor, Founder of Enterprise, Dies at 94
Jack Taylor has parked his car in the Emerald Aisle for the last time.
The man who built a rental-car company on top of a leasing business, birthed from a side office in a St. Louis Cadillac dealership, has died at the age of 94.
Enterprise Rent-a-Car grew in an unconventional way compared to its competitors, which focused mainly on airports. Mr. Taylor’s company instead leveraged home-town business with downtown locations to offer vehicles for purposes other than out-of-town travel.
According to the New York Times, Taylor named the business after the U.S.S. Enterprise, the aircraft carrier from which he flew sorties during World War II. He was a late bloomer when it came to business, but eventually turned Enterprise into one of the largest companies in the United States. Enterprise now buys more vehicles than any other entity in the country, and claims to hiring more college graduates than any other company.
Taylor is survived by a son and daughter who both hold executive positions in his companies.
We thank Mr. Taylor for providing all the rental vehicles we’ve reviewed over the years.
A full background on Mr. Taylor is available on the New York Times.
My experience has been that no one answers the phone, and when you finally get an answer, no one on the phone knows their hind end from a hole in the ground. Our rule is - rent from anyone but NO ENTERPRISE EVER!!! And their prices aren't any lower than the other low price agencies. (Never mind Hertz and Avis who obviously are catering to the expense-account crowd with their prices that are two times the going rate.)
The biggest knock I've heard on Enterprise, consumer-wise, is stories of renters being hit with body damage claims after returning the rent cars, when there wasn't any damage on the cars when returned. The problem usually occurs when renters drop the car at a body shop where they've had their own car repaired, and there's no Enterprise available to do a walk-around. This makes me a little nervous, as I'm getting ready to put my Tacoma in the body shop to get some hail damage repaired. My insurer is Farmers, and they use Enterprise.
False body damage claims have been part of their business model for decades. They tried it on me once many years ago and I have avoided using them for any reason ever since. And this was at their own facility, not a body shop.
The pick up and drop off feature is very handy, making it much easier for me to rent. Their rates are lower than Avis, even with my 20% work discount. And they gave me an upgrade just because I asked them for something more interesting than a Camry. They didn't hassle me about buying extra insurance (because I don't carry full coverage), which Avis forced me to do before they'd give me keys, at $10/day. No complaints so far from Enterprise.