Posts Tagged ‘rental cars’

One careful owner rental cars for sale

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

New reports show that customers in the U.K. are unwittingly buying ex-rental cars that are being advertised as having had only one previous owner.

The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into the U.K.’s used car market which is worth around £35 billion a year after receiving nearly 70,000 complaints from customers last year.

Two of the U.K.’s main rental firms are being accused of using companies as a front to sell on cars that used to be in their rental fleets to customers who do not realize they are purchasing a car that has been driven previously by a number of different people. Many customers are angered that the proper information has not been supplied to them concerning the cars history. They feel that ex rental cars have a reputation for having been driven hard and fast by customers who are more willing to abuse a car that they do not actually own.

400,000 ex rental cars are sold each year.

National Car Rental, a company owned by Europcar registers all of its vehicles under the company name Provincial Securities Ltd and therefore the cars documentation does not show that the cars were ever used in its rental fleet. Liberal Democrat, Norman Baker says that this form of trading is extremely suspect and is an attempt to get more money for cars that could have been abused whilst being rented to the public.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has defended the ex rental car market by saying that rental cars are often looked after much better by rental companies than privately owned vehicles.

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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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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Hertz trying for odor free rental cars

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

In a move to eliminate stinky cars from its rental fleet, Hertz will begin using the Fresh Wave IAQ, a high tech odor eliminator, in all of its cars.

The program is being launched in the US and Canada at major airport locations. In the UK the program gets off the ground at Heathrow and Stansted car rental locations.

Stinky cars make for complaining customers and customer complaints can cost millions in lost car rental revenue. Customers who are put off by bad odors often want replacement vehicles. Worse yet, smelly cars can lead to a loss of good will as customers spread the word to one another. Hertz wants to keep their customers coming back.

OMI Industries manufactures the odor eliminator using natural plant extracts. The product is biodegradable and nontoxic which keeps environmentalists happy. OMI won the Hertz contract primarily because of the “greenness” of its product. Hertz needed assurances that the product would be safe for both customers and employees alike.

It has been reported that the product is so safe that the OMI sales team sprays it into their own eyes during demonstrations.

“We wanted to take a progressive approach toward odor neutralization by finding an innovative partner that provides a green technology to help us meet these demands, and Fresh Wave IAQ was clearly the best choice,” commented Kent Seavey of Hertz.

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Sixt expands rental car outlets in train stations

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

In a further effort to provide seamless connections from rail to rental car, Sixt is opening two new rental counters right inside of train stations. The new outlets are located at Maastrict Central Station and Brussels South.

Sixt has been increasing their visibility at train stations during the past year with rental outlets at Rotterdam Central, St.Pieters, Utrecht Central, and Amsterdam stations. The outlet at Amsterdam Central is one of the busiest in the Benelux.

“Despite the current tight market, we are showing courage by investing in new rental outlets. The previous opening of the Sixt branch at Amsterdam Central Station proved to be an enormous success, a trend which we of course expect to continue with the opening of Sixt at Maastricht Central Station and certainly so with the rental outlet at the junction of international train services, the Brussels South railway station,” said Thomas Wolters of Sixt.

According to Wolters, convenience of location is a critical factor in a customer’s decision making process. Sixt wants to make it as easy as possible for train passengers traveling between England, France, the Netherlands, and Germany to find a rental car. Eurostar, Thalys, and ICE International passengers will have no problem finding a Sixt outlet.

Sixt has more than 150 rental counters in the UK and boasts a fleet of 26,000 rental cars.

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New laws for hire cars on Fraser island

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Two tourists died in terrible hire car accident on Fraser Island last April after their 4×4 vehicle rolled with 11 passengers inside. The accident prompted a complete review of hire car rules on the island and new laws have finally been approved.

The speed limit on the island has been reduced to 80km/h. Additionally, the number of passengers permitted in a vehicle is limited to 7 and luggage can’t be carried on top of the vehicle. The new regulations are designed to reduce the center of gravity of the vehicles in order to reduce the likelihood of them flipping.

Ian Davy of the UK and Italian Concetta Dell’Angelo were killed last April when the driver of their 4X4 rental car that was traveling at high speed swerved suddenly causing the vehicle to overturn 3 times.

“There is a safety issue among groups of visitors, generally backpackers, who have been able to come from abroad without relevant driving experience, load up a troop carrier and take off. Clear evidence of a specific safety problem can’t be ignored and it is why I have decided to take this targeted action,” stated Rachel Nolan, transport minister.

The transport minister also ordered inspections of all rental cars on Fraser Island. The inspections revealed that over 30% of the hire cars on the island were in substandard condition and not roadworthy.

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Australia has rental car shortage

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Australia is experiencing a severe shortage of rental cars especially in the northern Queensland area around the city of Cairns. The shortage is the result of several factors that have combined to make a “perfect storm” in the Australian car hire market.

It all started when new replacement vehicles failed to arrive at agencies. Besides that, the recent school holidays have added to the demand. Those two factors combined with the problem that Holidaymakers are waiting until the last minute to book their car rental has caused the shortage.

Spokespersons from both Avis and Hertz are saying that the demand is totally unexpected.

“People have been making late bookings and it’s hard to plan your fleet this way. We are sold out this week and it is the end of the New South Wales school holidays too.” said Wayne Burgoyne of Hertz.

Similarly, Avis claims that the situation is just a 2-week glitch caused by the schools just letting out. A spokesman said that Avis believes that the demand will soon return to normal, but he admitted that they had reduced their fleet and that the new replacement cars failed to arrive on time.

It was reported that a staff member at Central Plaza Apartments had telephoned no less than eight separate car hire agencies and was unable to book a single car.

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Europcar car rental and Nissan announce try-before-you-buy

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Hoping to encourage more people to buy electric vehicles, Nissan has announced a partnership with car rental giant, Europcar,  that will allow prospective buyers to try out electric cars before they buy. Many people don’t even consider buying an electric car, because they simply just don’t know enough about them.

Since most electric cars only have a maximum travel range of 160 km, the plan would also allow purchasers of electric vehicles to get discounted rates on rental cars for use on trips of longer than 160 km.

The partnership is part of a broader plan on the part of Nissan and Europcar to provide electric car rental throughout Europe as well as in New Zealand and Australia. They hope to have electric vehicles on the road by 2010.

“This signature fits perfectly with the principles of our Green charter and our action policy intended to offer our customers a fleet with as limited an impact as possible on the environment,” according to Rafael Girona, Europcar’s CEO.

Both companies have been pioneers in the emerging zero-emission electric vehicle market.  Nissan recently announced plans to open an electric car battery manufacturing facility in the UK as well. Their electric car manufacturing facility is located in Sunderland.

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Costa del Sol faces car rental shortage

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

British tourists headed for the Costa del Sol this summer are being warned to book car rental in advance of departure. The region is experiencing a severe shortage of rental cars as a result of tightened credit restrictions caused by the recession.

Car hire companies that are feeling the squeeze of tightening credit are being forced to reduce their fleets substantially. Even though the number of tourists has also decreased due to the economic downturn, operators are still not able to supply the current demand for rental cars.

“It’s true that some firms have no cars available until August. It is possible to find the bigger luxury models but of course they come at a higher price.” said a representative at Malaga’s Record Go car rental which serves the region.

A few car hire firms have had to resort to using older, used cars, some with as many as 200,000 miles on them in order to fulfill last minute bookings. According to reports, it’s already virtually impossible to hire a car at Malaga airport.

A few car hire firms have had to resort to using older, used cars, some with as many as 200,000 miles on them in order to fulfill last minute bookings. According to reports, it’s already virtually impossible to hire a car at Malaga airport.

This AESVA is warning would-be holidaymakers that it’s not going to be easy. Be prepared for a lot of phoning around to the agencies in the area. The Costa del Sol has around 200 car rental agencies.

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