Companies often tout their green initiatives as a way to drum up new business, but the expensive reality of investing in EVs and other technologies isn’t always clear up front. Hertz found that out the hard way, as it aggressively invested in new EVs for its rental fleet a couple of years ago, only to begin selling them off in 2024.
After managing to avoid what appeared to be certain death, Hertz has decided to purchase 100,000 Tesla vehicles before the end of 2022. Considering the firm was filling out Chapter 11 bankruptcy forms this time last year, the estimated $4.2 billion expenditure designed to ensure that 20 percent of its global fleet is electric does feel slightly frivolous. But Hertz says it’s getting out ahead of the curve and is interested in becoming a “mobility company,” rather than a business that just rents people automobiles.
For a product or service to dominate a body of customers, another must fade to the background. Think of direct and alternating current, or perhaps digital cameras and 35mm film.
It gets a little fuzzier when the topic of personal transportation arises. Some modes of transport are so much more more useful than what they replaced (cars and horses, jetliners and ocean liners) that the preceding mode is relegated to a niche category. In others comparisons, the usefulness of a certain mode remains strong only in certain areas. Think trains.
But in a car-based world, consumers now have more options than ever in how they get around when their personal vehicle is left sitting at home. A recent survey shows just how pleasant regular car renters find app-based ride-hailing services, and traditional rental companies would be foolish to not take note.
Today’s car rental services span the gamut in terms of vehicular offerings and price, but it used to be a more utilitarian affair. Granted, the norm is still to hop online and click the little box next to economy or compact with those full-size sedans reserved for when your employer is footing the bill. However, special discounts or a base Mitsubishi Mirage occasionally make SUVs and even premium cars too tempting to pass up. For those with more discerning tastes, there are entire agencies devoted to specialty cars.
Silvercar is a rental firm that allows customers to charter an Audi A4 similarly to how you would reserve a ZipCar — log in, schedule a pickup, and remotely unlock the vehicle for as long you need access. It’s akin to BMW’s ReachNow, General Motors’ Maven, and Mercedes’ Car2Go — that latter of which is finally replacing its fleet of Smart cars with Benz-branded vehicles. But Audi doesn’t actually own Silvercar, it just happens to be a company providing the exact service that every single automaker wants to include as part of an updated mobility identity. Oh, and it exclusively rents out A4s.
Obviously, Audi is purchasing it.
As urban populations grow and analysts continue to predict dwindling car ownership, alternatives have sprung up and automakers are gradually getting in on that sweet car-sharing action. Currently active in 17 North American cities, General Motors’ hourly ride-sharing unit Maven has been building slowly.
GM is now expanding Maven to include long-term rentals which, come to think of it, sounds identical to what it was doing with its Book by Cadillac premium subscription service. While the Caddy offering is intended to be a monthly subscription serving as an alternative to normal vehicle ownership, nothing is really stopping customers from using “Maven Reserve” in a similar manner.
Also similar is the pricing. While the special Maven Reserve vehicles don’t yet encompass all GM’s fleet, a Chevrolet Tahoe runs $1,500 for 28 days, which is identical to the subscription fee for Cadillac Book, which also includes curbside car delivery and mid-month vehicle swapping.
In essence, GM is allowing you to have simultaneous access to a CTS-V and Escalade or a Tahoe for the same amount of money.
Dealers are shaving thousands off of Volkswagen’s Golf GTI — up to $5,000 at some dealers — and the hatchback is relatively easy to find at rental car counters across the country.
So, is everything going OK with 2015’s North American Car of the Year™?
In cities where owning a car can be a pain (New York, Boston, Seattle), drivers are opting instead to share vehicles with other drivers, with companies such as ZipCar, Car2Go, RelayRides et al offering their services to help the public get around. All anyone needs beyond the basics is a subscription to the car-sharing service, a reservation, and a drop-off location when they are finished with their errands. Even big-name rental car companies like Enterprise and Hertz are jumping into the new business model for a test drive, Avis having gone the farthest by purchasing ZipCar in January of 2013.
However, the insurance offered by these peer-to-peer rental companies might not all that it’s cracked up to be, with severe consequences should anything remotely catastrophic occur.
A 1997 Ford Escort is not exactly a rolling testament to the dreams of auto enthusiasts.
But for $300, it beats the ever loving snot out of a Schwinn.
This LX model was a trade-in from one of my customers. Did I rip them off? No. Not at all. One of the cylinders was dead. The interior was as dirty as Hugh Hefner’s mind, and with 221k miles coupled with a 5-speed, it wasn’t about to go on the front line.
But where should I put it?
I buy a lot of cars from the last week of September thru mid-November. This is a dead zone for the dealer side of the business. We have no major holidays that encourage spending. No Christmas bonuses or tax reasons to spur demand. Plus a lot of the auto finance companies try to liquidate their used inventory so that they can hit their earnings for the year.A lot gets sold and if you’re quick about it, deals can be found.
Onstar may have been pressured by privacy activists into dropping changes to its terms of service, but the telematics service is still betting that people want to be more connected than ever. So much so that it’s going offer a service allowing you to rent your car out to strangers.
With car sharing on the rise, my home state of Oregon is moving towards changing insurance rules to allow private “peer to peer” rentals by auto owners. The Oregonian reports that HB 3149 is headed for the Governor’s desk, having been approved by the state House and Senate. Sponsor Rep Ben Cannon explains
Most insurance policies prohibit people from using their cars for commercial purposes. This bill says someone can participate in car sharing without having to worry that their insurance will be canceled.
California is the only other state to have passed such legislation, and already Facebook-based peer-to-peer car rental firms like Getaround have popped up to fill the demand. With average car ownership costs reaching $8,000 per year according to the AAA, Cannon argues that research showing that cars sit parked for 90% of their lives proves the need for more car-sharing flexibility. And established car-sharing firms like Zipcar, which operate their own fleets don’t feel threatened by the bill, as they are not expanding beyond urban cores and as Zipcar’s CEO puts it, peer-to-peer rentals validate the car-sharing model. But would you rent your car to a stranger?
Think BMW sells a lot of cars in the US? The German automaker may have registered nearly 20,000 “sales” in the US last month, but according to the analysts at Polk, over 50 percent of its “sales” in 2010 were actually leases. No wonder BMW’s best-seller, the Dreier (3 Series), occupies a nearly unique position on the price-volume frontier. And apparently BMW will continue to look to non-sales for future sales growth, as Automotive News [sub] reports the firm has launched a new car-sharing joint venture in Europe aimed at bringing in a million new customers by 2020. The pitch: sleek new Bavarian metal, as well as the ability to pick up and drop off vehicles anywhere, thanks to smartphone vehicle tracking. But the biggest pitch, say BMW sources, is to people who would never buy a new BMW… or even lease one. And they’re not just talking about poor folks either…
Back in November, NHTSA announced that it was investigating how long it took for rental cars to be repaired under recall, saying
NHTSA understands that there is presently a petition before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking to prohibit at least one rental car company from renting vehicles on which safety recall campaign remedies remain outstanding.
Because only vehicles made by the Detroit Three are under investigation, they are the only firms who have been asked to disclose how long it takes rental fleets to repair their vehicles. And, according to the Detroit News
GM and Chrysler told NHTSA this week that 30 days after a recall — 10 to 30 percent of vehicles sold to rental car companies had been repaired.
By 90 days, it had improved to about 30 percent and within a year, the number had improved to 50 percent or higher.
Ford did not make its data public, citing the fact that the release of the information could damage it is relationship with rental car companies and result in “decreased sales of motor vehicles to rental car fleets.”
Rental car companies are not legally required to complete recalls before they rent the cars to customers.
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- Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
- Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...
- CEastwood From zero there is nowhere to go but up . BYD isn't sold in the U.S. and most Teslas are ugly azz 90s looking plain jane drone mobiles . I've only seen one Rivian on the road and it 's not looking good for them . I live out in the sticks of NW NJ and EVs just aren't practical here , but the local drag strip thrives in the warmer months with most cars making the trip from New York .
- Lorenzo Aw, that's just the base price. Toyota dealers aren't in the same class as BMW/Porsche upsellers, and the Toyota base is more complete, but nobody will be driving that model off the lot at that price.
- Mike The cost if our busing program is 6.2 million for our average size district in NJ. It was 3.5 last year.