Posts Tagged ‘car rental’

Sixt Rent a Car reports decent second quarter

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Sixt car rental is starting to see some improvement in rental car demand and their second quarter earnings were better than the first quarter.  Part of the improvement was due to cost cutting measures, reduced fleet, and a change in the way they do their financing.

According to Erich Sixt, head of the rental car giant, “Sixt has successfully adapted to the change in the market environment. The second quarter has shown that our cost-cutting and efficiency-enhancing measures are starting to take effect. A cautious fleet policy, price increases, customer-focused product innovations and cost awareness are the key factors for continued success in this environment.”

Revenues for the company were up a whopping 7.8% over the first quarter. This is a good sign for the car rental business faced with the worst economic climate of its existence. Their EBT for the second quarter was €22.4 million. If you disregard the fleet size reduction and the financing switch then the numbers go down to €13.9 million, but it’s still a big improvement over the first three months of the year.

Even though this very positive for Sixt, like other rental car companies, the figures were still down from last year. Total revenue industry wide is way down when compared to last year at this time.

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Zipcar car rental predicts record growth

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

In the midst of an economic crisis that has other car rental companies howling, Zipcar just predicted that their revenue will hit the $130,000 million mark by the end of the year.

Zipcar has found a profitable niche in the car hire business and has exploited it to its maximum potential. They are the undisputed champions of the pay-as-you-go car rental operators. Zipcar officials believe that the industry as a whole can reach $12.5 billion in the coming years.

“It’s exciting to be able to tell an up business story in a year when many of the other businesses are either flat or down,” commented Scott Griffith, Zipcar CEO.

Zipcar, a company started in Boston, Massachusetts, currently operates out of 13 locations worldwide. They are planning to expand into two more locations next year. London and Vancouver are the targets for the new shops.

Zipcar operates on a membership basis, a concept that they pioneered. Members pay a small flat fee annually, usually somewhere between $25 and $50 depending on the plan and location. The annual membership then entitles member to rent by the hour. The cars are parked in pods at convenient locations for easy pickup and drop off. Members carry an electronic key that allows them access to the vehicles as needed.

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National Car Rental offers third day free

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

National Car Rental just announced the continuation of their “One-Two-Free” program for the seventh year in a row. The promotion benefits National’s Emerald Club members by awarding them one free rental day for every two days of paid car rental.

“We are always looking for ways to exceed customer expectations. For example, Emerald Club is already the most robust customer loyalty program in the industry — and this year’s extended ‘One-Two-Free’ coverage adds even more value for consumers and business customers alike,” said Rob Hibbard of National.

The program is not an automatic benefit of Emerald Club membership. Existing members must register in order to participate in the promotion. Additionally, registered members can earn a free car rental day by referring a friend to the program. There are no limits to the number of free rental days that a member can accumulate.

The promotion runs for a longer period this year than it did last year. The new program will continue until the end of January of 2010. That’s five whole months that members have to accumulate free days. Participants in the One-Two-Free program are periodically notified by mail as to the number of free days they have accumulated. All free days must be redeemed before June 25, 2010.

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Car rental giant, Europcar, solves delivery problem

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Europcar car rental has come up with an innovative way to save themselves a lot of money on delivery expenses and keep customers satisfied at the time. The majority of the company’s business requires rental cars to be picked up and delivered directly to customers who never see the rental counter. These customers are mostly corporate clients.

Europcar, like all the other car rental operators this year, has had to come up with ways to cut costs. They wanted to find a way to cut down on the travel expenses of their delivery drivers. The number of miles logged by delivery drivers is staggering.

According to their Operations Manager, ““We drive 13.5 million miles a year just delivering and collecting cars,” adding “Logistically, it’s a tall order.”

What they came up with is both economical and environmentally sound at the same time. The company has procured a fleet of five collapsible motorcycles that can literally fit into the trunk of a rental car. Whenever a driver has to make a delivery of more than 2 miles, he just throws one of the collapsible motorcycles in the boot of the car he’s delivering and away he goes.

For deliveries of less than 2 miles, Europcar has a similar fleet of folding electric bicycles that drivers take along for the return trip.

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Europcar promotes a new rewards program

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Europcar car rental just unveiled a new program designed to make car hire more affordable for UK drivers facing the recession. Their new program is called Hire Rewards and it has the potential to save consumers around £200 on a one week car hire.

The new rewards program is similar to an airline frequent flyer program. It’s basically a loyalty program that rewards loyal customers who rent cars a few times a year. It’s good on all Europcar services including van hire and prestige car rental.

Europcar wants to offer UK families alternatives to the expense of car ownership and they believe that their new Hire rewards program will provide a cost effective means for customers to gain access to a wide range of vehicles. The average age of a Europcar rental car is only six months and the cars are well maintained.

“27% of Europcar customers hire because they are worried about the reliability of their own car, 21% because their own car has broken down and 24% require a bigger vehicle. Furthermore, 23% hire because they don’t have a car. We want these customers to keep coming back to Europcar and by offering Hire Rewards they will have very good reason to,” said Catriona Lougher spokesperson for Europcar.

Europcar is the leading car hire operator in the UK and offers service from over 200 agencies throughout the country.

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Hertz car rental to start photographic inspections

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

In a move designed to put an end to customer disputes over damaged cars, Hertz car rental is implementing a high-tech photo inspection system that will take before and after shots of its rental cars.

The system is already being tested at an undisclosed car rental agency in the US. The idea is to take detailed pictures of each rental car before it is driven off the lot by the customer. When the customer returns the car, more photos are taken and then compared to the “before” set of pictures.

According to Richard Broome, a spokesman for Hertz, “It will speed up the rental process and help to avoid any disputes over damage. Sometimes we may get into disputes with consumers that don’t get resolved.”

Faced with declining revenues resulting from the recession, Hertz is hoping that the new plan will help to cut damage losses by passing them on to the customer. Under the current system, customers often dispute damages and Hertz winds up paying the tab. Damaged rental cars costs Hertz around $170 million a year.

Besides cutting costs, they are hoping that the new plan will also improve customer relations and increase rental car demand. Hertz has been struggling to maintain profitability over the past year.

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Couple return rental car with suspected pipe bomb

Monday, August 17th, 2009

When a couple of holidaymakers in Newport Beach, California didn’t like the sounds coming from under the hood of their rental car they turned around and went back to the car rental agency, Vanguard Rent A Car,  to complain.

Mechanics from the car lot checked under the hood and discovered what they thought might be a pipe bomb. The astute mechanics immediately called in Orange County Sherriff’s Department to investigate.

“They heard a clanging in the engine and brought it back. Mechanics looked in the engine compartment today and discovered the device.” said Evan Sailor of the Sheriff’s department.

According to police, the car had previously been driven to John Wayne airport all the way from Los Angeles. After it was left at the airport the car was transferred to the car rental lot where it was rented to the couple that discovered the alleged bomb.

The Sheriff sent out the bomb squad who spent most of the morning using a robot to remove the suspected device from the engine compartment of the rental car. The entire area had to be evacuated before the mission began.

It turned out that the device did not contain any explosives after all, but police are continuing to investigate.

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Dubai car rental agency ordered to return passport

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

It’s common practice for car hire companies in foreign countries to hold travelers’ passports as security. Now, a court in Dubai has ruled that they must return a tourist’s passport upon request and may not keep it as collateral for payment.

Ibrahim Ahmed brought the court action against Al Shamoos car rental based in Dubai when the company would not give him back his passport because of unpaid traffic fines. Ahmed disputed the charges but Al Shamoos still wouldn’t return the passport insisting that the fines be paid.

The matter wound up in Dubai Civil court which ruled in Ahmed’s favor. The car rental agency appealed but lost again when the appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling. Failure to return a passport is now unlawful in Dubai as a result of this verdict.

“Several customers do not report the violations they commit, including speeding above the limit, as they know that the fines will be the responsibility of the rental companies. The fines for traffic offenses are not recorded instantly in the system and takes two weeks or more. Since we cannot hold the documents of a customer for such a long time, the fines will have to be ultimately paid by the companies,” reacted Al Fatih Abdulla, of Umdurman Car Rental in Dubai.

Police, on the other hand, insist that information regarding traffic fines is available almost instantly on their web site.

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Car rental insurance company supports charity

Friday, August 7th, 2009

While most travel related businesses are cutting costs and tightening belts during one of the worst recessions that the travel industry has ever experienced, at least one company that supplies car rental insurance has decided to give something back to the community through charitable contributions. announced its support for four individual charities that the company believes are making a positive impact on people’s quality of life. The charitable contributions are administered by the Towergate Charitable Foundation.

Funds supplied by Insurance4carhire are helping with a molecular medicine study headed by the renowned Professor Adrian Harris at Cancer Research UK.

They also are helping provide funds to Childline, a children’s outreach program that provides telephone support to nearly 4,500 children per day.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital is another worthwhile cause that the company has identified and they are donating money for the construction of the hospital’s new wing which will house a cardiac and respiratory unit.

The forth beneficiary of the company’s generosity is the Help for Hospices’ scholarship program which enables staff to further their education in the field of hospice care.

Insurance4carhire has been in business since 2002 and provides car rental excess insurance which covers a driver for the excess damage to a rental vehicle.

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Dollar Thrifty car rental running smoothly during recession

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Dollar Thrifty car rental that has had steady losses in four out of seven previous quarters has finally turned the corner and reported that profits went up by 15% last quarter.

They attribute the increase profitability to the success of cost cutting measures which they began implementing last year. They have also been successful in raising the average price per day of their car rentals even though the average car hire time period has declined.

“We were pleased with this quarter’s operating results, particularly in light of the contracting economy and the bankruptcy of Chrysler, one of our major suppliers. Over the past two quarters, we have taken a number of steps to enhance our operating performance and cash flow, and those actions, combined with improved used vehicle residual values and firmer rental pricing, drove our improved second quarter performance,” said CEO, Scott L Thompson.

The stock market has been reacting favorably to the announcement and the stock is up by 19%. As with other car rental companies like Hertz Global Holdings, they are faced with falling revenues, but the reduction in revenue has not been as great as they had predicted. Dollar Thrifty’s gross revenue is down about 10%. They had predicted that it would fall to 12%.

The economic downturn has caused a worldwide drop in car rental revenue of 19.4%.

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