SiriusXM

Remember when satellite radio wasn't available in rental cars? Although it's hard to believe, satellite radio as a service has only existed in this century/millennium -- XM came online in late September 2001 and Sirius came online in early 2002 (the two companies would merge in 2008). One of our favorite parts of having Hertz status today is picking cars with satellite radio activated (rather than paying an additional fee). Yet one rental car company was involved with the service from the ground up (literally). 

Avis is known for being an early technology adopter, even if the technology is a horrible rental return kiosk or satellite television in rental cars. Believing that XM satellite radio would be a real differentiator when it came to business customers, Avis signed on to offer the service before the first satellite was even launched! Vanguard Group (the nominal parent of Alamo and National and now owned by Enterprise) took another four and a half years to see the potential of the service. In Alamo's and National's defense, they initially offered the service at no additional charge!

Add-on services such as satellite radio are now major revenue drivers for rental car companies; we even advise renters on ways to avoid the add-on fees for satellite radio! And the older members of our team can marvel how our vehicles two decades ago were equipped with AM/FM radios with cassette decks or CD players (if we were lucky -- CD players were still considered a luxury). Today, we can even stream content from our cell phones to onboard entertainment systems in rental cars and we can't even fathom the entertainment features that will be available in our (self-driving) cars 20 years from now!   

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