The rise of the car club in the past few years has somewhat put traditional car rental in the shade. It perhaps comes as no surprise then that traditional rental giants have been increasingly wandering into the field of flexible car hire, with services such as Hertz on Demand from Hertz and Avis’ takeover Zipcar, helping these giants compete with independent services such as CityCarClub and car2go.
Now Hertz, one of the world’s largest vehicle rental firms, is expanding its flexible car hire solution, effectively making its entire fleet a car club, in launching a new service it is calling Hertz 24/7. Claiming that will give it the world’s largest car sharing network, Hertz is converting its existing fleet with the latest technology to allow customers to ‘self-serve’ anytime of the day or night.
The firm estimates some 500,000 Hertz 24/7-enabled vehicles will be in service globally by 2016 - ten times more vehicles than the size of the current car sharing industry combined.
Like a traditional car club service, customers will be able to rent a wide variety of vehicles near their home or work place, whenever they need them, for any length of time-hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. The company estimates that by 2016, it will have “self-serve” vehicles within minutes of the majority of the United States population.
Hertz 24/7 service is already available today at 1,800 neighbourhood and airport locations in the US, France, Germany, UK, Spain and Australia, with an available, combined fleet of 35,000 vehicles (cars, mini-vans, vans and SUVs), and plans to expand to more than 2,000 locations by year end.
Like a car club, customers register to use the service and are provided with a membership car. This ‘Click. Swipe. Go’ card can be used as a key fob against the windshield of a car, to unlock it once the user has reserved a car, via the hertz247.com or hertz.com from a mobile device or laptop. It’s quick, it’s simple and hassle-free and there is no membership fee to pay.
“Driven by the company’s award-winning technology, Hertz is reinventing the car rental industry by putting the rental process in the hands of consumers. Technology-enhanced vehicles will be available close to where customers live or work, making it easier than ever to reserve and quickly pick-up a rental vehicle at the customer’s convenience. Urban and suburban customers will be able to rent a much wider variety of vehicles at any hour – not just weekdays 9 to 5 when a neighbourhood rental location is open. 24/7 service is a key part of our commitment to create the fastest, easiest and most valued rental experiences in the business,” commented Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mark P. Frissora.
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