The Fathers of Rental Cars
Hertz and Avis are named after their founders: John Hertz and Warren Avis--sort of. Hertz was actually founded by Walter Jacobs in 1918. At the age of 22, Jacobs founded a car rental company with a mere 12 Model-Ts and set up shop just south of Chicago's loop. He sold the company to John D. Hertz in 1923 who renamed it "Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System".
Don't Take That Bus For Granted
Hertz invented the low-floor passenger bus that you are familiar with riding at airports to the off-site rental facility. The low floor and additional space reduced loading time, increased passenger access, and were at first exclusive to Hertz.
A Novel Idea
Avis was the first company to rent cars at airport locations - at Willow Run Airport in Detroit in 1946!
Trying Harder for Half a Century
Avis's slogan has been "We Try Harder" since 1963, in direct response to competition from Hertz! They've been trying harder for a long time!
A Lot of the Rental Car Companies Are In Bed Together
Thought they were competitors? Yeah right! The largest car rental conglomerate is Enterprise Holdings (Alamo, Enterprise, National). It's privately owned and is larger than Avis Budget (Avis, Budget, Payless) and Hertz Global Holdings (Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty) combined. Avis Budget is the second largest.
You (Or Your Wallet) Might Have Noticed that the Car Rental Industry is a Monopoly
The monopolistic overtones of the car rental industry result from the high barriers to entry for new companies in the rental car space (you have to buy a lot of cars!) These 3 companies dominate the US rental car industry so intensely (93% of the entire US fleet, 95% of the revenue) that they make airlines and cell phone providers look like models of perfect competition.
- American, Delta, Southwest, United (68% market share, combined)
- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint (81% market share, combined)
Advantage Car Rentals Used to Cost $3.99?!
Advantage's founders originally named it $3.99 Car Rentals. They started to regret that after inflation took its toll. AutoSlash does occasionally find rates that low though!