Hertz launches car sharing in three cities

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Car Rental News - 18/12/2008


The rental car company officially opened its new car sharing business in London, New York and Paris on Tuesday.

Centre stage at the launch in all three cities was a red Mini Cooper convertible, symbolic of the ambitious move by one of the world’s premier rental car companies into this new sector.

Hertz, along with existing car sharing companies, will place its cars at a number of urban parking locations where members of the new programme, called "Connect by Hertz," can go directly after they reserve their vehicle. Renters are required to join the car sharing programme, and pay an annual membership fee that covers gas, insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance – and for the use of a universal key card as well.

Hertz has entered the car sharing market as the rental industry is facing a reduction in consumer demand. Airlines have cut flights, meaning fewer rental customers at airports, and leisure and business travellers have both cut back on travel, including car rentals. These factors have led to sharp drops in rental car company revenues and profits.

Mark Frissora, the Hertz chairman and CEO, has commented that his company's timing in entering the car sharing market is perfect. Although the company is starting on a small scale, it is hoping to capitalize on the trend of urban consumers looking to move away from car ownership, and on the current weakened position of its competitors.

"People can't buy cars today," the Hertz executive said in an interview, in a reference to the current credit crunch.

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