The Hertz Corporation
|Type||Public (NYSE: HTZ)|
|Founder(s)||Walter L. Jacobs|
|Headquarters||Park Ridge, New Jersey, USA|
|Owner||Private Equity Group|
|Parent||Hertz Global Holdings, Inc.|
The Hertz Corporation (also known as Hertz Rent A Car or simply Hertz) is the second largest general-use car rental company in the world, with 1,900 locations in the United States and 5,100 worldwide.
Hertz also maintains a heavy equipment rental division known as the Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, aka HERC. It is headquartered in Park Ridge, New Jersey. HERC has nearly 300 branches throughout the United States, Canada, Spain, France and India.
The company was begun by Walter L. Jacobs in 1918, who started a car rental operation in Chicago with a dozen Model Ts. In 1923, Jacobs sold it to John D. Hertz, president of Yellow Cab and Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company, who renamed it the "Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System". The company has passed through a number of hands, including General Motors, RCA, and United Airlines. As a public company, Hertz was traded on the NYSE under the symbol HRZ until the purchase of outstanding stock by Ford Motor Company.
From 1994 - 2005, it was a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. On June 13, 2005, Ford issued a notice that Hertz would be spun off in an initial public offering. On September 13, 2005 it was announced it was to be sold to a private equity group (composed of Clayton Dubilier & Rice, The Carlyle Group and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity) for $5.6 billion in cash and debt acquisition. The sale was completed on December 22, 2005.
Despite its past affiliation with Ford, the rental fleet of most Hertz locations no longer consists exclusively of Fords and Ford brands such as Mazda, Volvo, Mercury and Lincoln. It is not uncommon to find Hertz rental cars from non-Ford companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and General Motors.
Collections and specialty cars
In 1966, Hertz engaged racing and automotive designer Carroll Shelby to develop an exclusive version of his modified Ford Mustang. One thousand GT350H Mustangs were built and ultimately sold once their rental use had ended, and surviving models have become a rare collector car. In 2006, the 40th anniversary of the original GT350H, Hertz introduced Shelby Mustang GT-H's as part of the Fun Collection at select locations. This was followed in 2007 with a convertible version of the GT-H.
The Fun Collection is targeted at the leisure car rental market, catering to travelers seeking exciting driving experiences. It allows reservation of cars by specific make and model. All vehicles feature Sirius satellite radio. Approximately 9 different models are available from a 12,000 vehicle specialty fleet at approximately 24 major airport locations in the United States. In 2008, Hertz announced the Chevrolet Corvette ZHZ would be the new centerpiece of its Fun Collection.
In the early 2000s, Hertz debuted the Prestige Collection at many rental locations. This collection features cars from Ford's Premier Automotive Group, including specific reservable models from Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar. Possibly due to market pressures, certain models from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and several other luxury makes are also being offered in highly competitive rental locations such as LAX.
Hertz launched its Green Collection in September 2006 with environmentally-friendly vehicles including the Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion, Buick LaCrosse, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata. All feature Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway fuel efficiency ratings of 31 highway miles per gallon or better, and most carry the Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay certification, which indicates lower emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. The Prius has also earned SmartWay Elite status. In early 2007, Hertz launched its global hybrid rental program in conjunction with a $1 million donation to the National Park Foundation. The launch of the global hybrid program expanded Hertz’ “Green Collection” by adding 1,000 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles to the company’s US nationwide fleet, a $20 million investment. As with the Fun Collection, the Green Collection allows customers to reserve specific vehicle models.
In the late 1990s, the company pioneered in-car satellite based navigation in a portion of its rental fleet with the introduction of Hertz Neverlost. The system features a color LCD display, voice prompting in several selectable languages, street address lookup, turn-by-turn guidance, and a destination guide based on AAA Tourbooks. Later generation units feature a special events by city, and popular chains database. Geographic information for the entire United States, and the majority of Canada is stored in the Neverlost control unit which is typically mounted under the hatshelf in the trunk area. The Neverlost navigation system and components are standardized throughout the North American rental fleet and the same physical unit is used for several years and moved across multiple rental cars. Neverlost in other parts of the world may differ from the unit found in North America.
Since being introduced, the Neverlost system has undergone two major hardware revisions, and several iterative software revisions. The latest generation Neverlost OTP unit features Online Trip Planning that allows the user to plan, save and upload destinations to a USB flash drive from an Internet equipped personal computer. The destinations are automatically preloaded when the flash drive is plugged in to the Neverlost unit.
The system was later repackaged and commercialized in a portable consumer unit called the Magellan Roadmate GPS Navigation System by Thales Group. The fact that it is based on the Hertz Neverlost system is frequently touted in the Roadmate marketing literature.
A large billboard advertising Hertz was on the roof of the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The billboard was later removed.
In the 1960s, Hertz television commercials featured a special effect showing people easily floating down from the sky into a car, with a cheerful group singing, "Let Hertz put you in the driver's seat" and an announcer stating "Hertz", following by phrases such as "we put you behind the wheel (in the driver's seat)." This prompted an early Saturday Night Live parody of a man screaming as he falls from high altitude, crashing into a car. The announcer states, "Hertz." The man screams, "It sure does!"
In the late 1960s, Hertz came out with a TV ad in which a company official, looking very much like a Nazi officer, shows the viewers the high efficiency of various aspects of Hertz' operations. At the end of the commercial he asks, "Why do we do this? I don't know; I am only following orders." This commercial brought about so much outrage that Hertz had it removed after a very short time.
O.J. Simpson appeared prominently in ads for the company for years in the 1970s and 1980s (many times appearing with golf legend Arnold Palmer; the pair was joined by the early 1990s by actress Jamie Lee Curtis). In one spot from the mid-1970s, which became iconic, Simpson, former football star as he was, leapt over rows of departure lounge seats, running through an airport terminal trying to get to his Hertz rental car. A woman yelled, "Go O.J. Go!" The tagline of the ad, as spoken by O.J., was "Hertz, the superstar in rent-a-car".
The relationship with Hertz and Simpson ended in late 1992 when reports of domestic abuse surfaced.
In 1993, a new campaign centered around the phrase "Not Exactly" was launched. The initial spot featured two business men (Bill Applebaum, Wayne Federman) forced to rush down an escalator, board a shuttle, and run through the rain to retrieve their non-Hertz rental. The spot was directed by Bob Giraldi.
New Refueling Policy
As of July 1, 2008 Hertz started a new policy on refueling their car rental returns. Instead of charging a higher per gallon charge for refueling the rental vehicle, Hertz now charges $6.99 for the service of refueling and the local average pump price. The service charge represents the effort in refueling which is only a small marginal increase per gallon pumped. As of December 1, 2008, Hertz has reverted to its old refueling policy.
- The Hertz Corporation web site
- Hertz Neverlost official information
- Yahoo! - The Hertz Corporation Company Profile
- Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation
- Hertz Car Sales official website
- Hertz Truck Rental website
- The Hertz Green Collection (reserve fuel efficient, environmentally-friendly cars).
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