May 24

RentWorks: Add-On Modules To Ensure You Have Superior Rental Tools

Take your car rental business to another gear with RentWorks’ add-on modules

RentWorks is all about simplifying the operation of your car rental business. While the installation of the program only comes with a one-time fee, that doesn’t mean Bluebird isn’t constantly seeking ways to enhance the software. What’s made Bluebird the global value leader in car rental software has been our constant desire for improvement, which is why we’re happy to provide periodic upgrades to our customers at no additional cost.

RentWorks delivers seamless integration with the software you need to run your business and we cover everything from the front counter to the back office. The challenge here would be to take you through every dimension of the program’s capabilities and going through the abundant add-on modules Bluebird offers. So today, we’ll stick with a few key rental tools available. These tools not only speed up your rental process; they also leave a lasting impression on your customers, who will appreciate the speedy service these add-ons allow you to implement. After all, a big part in customers choosing the rental outlet for transportation needs is the experience they get when renting from you.

Here are three key add-on modules available with RentWorks:

Credit Card Processing:

Bluebird can streamline your rental counter operations with CCPRO, a leading edge credit card processing system. Fully integrated with RentWorks, CCPRO supports EMV technology (Chip & PIN) technology. This allows your business to perform credit card authorization and draft capture functions of your operation quickly and efficiently.

CCPRO saves you valuable time by eliminating manual data entry. When a customer’s credit card is inserted into the reader, the information is securely captured and encrypted.

CCPRO provides you peace of mind by providing a security check against credit card fraud. The card’s ‘chip’ will identify the correct owner of the card, even if the name or card number on the front have been altered. Not only do you get peace of mind, but your customer is also protected in all credit card transactions, as CCPRO passes all sensitive cardholder information directly to the processor. This prevents sensitive information from saving to the merchant’s computer system.

For added convenience, CCPRO utilizes a token issued by the processor to the point of transaction. This eliminates the need to store sensitive data locally. Multiple payments can be processed against a single token as allowed by Visa and MasterCard rules. Finally, CCPRO offers a choice of multiple payment gateways for merchants to select.

Signature Pads:

The Signature Pads add-on stores images of customer signatures in your system with the rental agreement for quick and easy reference. Going paperless will prevent your file cabinets from overflowing and ensure you’re always organized.

A large, legible screen will capture your customer’s signature upon checkout. With it, you can also prompt to accept or decline additional coverages. Instead of paper stacks mounting, images of the customer’s signature on your rental agreement will be stored as images. You won’t have to worry about meeting legal requirements by displaying your agreement electronically, as all necessary verbiage can be programmed to display on the screen. Save some space in your office by going paperless!

Drivers License Cameras With SnapShell R3:

Thanks to the combination of RentWorks with SnapShell R3, you can load the complete image of a license into your system. When you open a contract for that driver, the information is automatically loaded and the image is electronically attached to the rental agreement.   

Instead of requiring a scanner at every workstation, the data is uploaded to your network for easy access. How does SnapShell R3 work? Simply place the license onto the scanner and press the scan button. SnapShell then indexes the card image by saving it under the owner’s name. With the software, you can choose where the file should be stored on your system. This makes future bookings from that customer easier, as you can select the appropriate image to associate with a customer’s record when a new contract is opened. Everyone on your network has access to the necessary data when the image is first uploaded. And of course, it integrates perfectly with RentWorks!

Conclusion

If you’ve been using RentWorks to operate your business for a while now, then you’re aware of just how effective RentWorks is in running your car rental operations. If you have yet to use the software, then a good first step is requesting a free demo. The numerous add-on modules of RentWorks ensure that your business is always up to date and that you’re maximizing the impact RentWorks has on your business.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 23

How Autonomous Vehicles might work in a Car Rental Fleet

Photo Credit: Waymo

A sneak peek at driverless cars in a future market

Although autonomous vehicles are slowly stepping on the gas as they wedge their way into the car rental market, it’s still a work in progress. Waymo’s been making great strides in driverless technology, while other automakers aren’t far behind. GM’s work on the Chevy Bolt and Ford’s ArgoAI project are also yielding positive results, even though securing investment has also been rather cumbersome.

But according to Digital Trends, the incremental way that autonomous vehicles have been shifting into faster lanes is indicative that these new automobiles will be here before we even know it. According to the piece, the cars will transition to driverless status in a variety of stages, meaning that we may be hard pressed to declare when full-scale autonomy becomes official, especially in the car rental market.

In this case, the future scenario involves a potential customer opening a smartphone app to book a vehicle which automatically drives itself to a choice destination for the client to pick up. The car is then notified about where the customer wants to go, reaches the location, drops off the customer and then drives itself to the next client. During its downtime, the driverless vehicle remains on the rental lot, or drives itself to an electric fuel depot, car wash or garage for maintenance.

Meanwhile, at the car rental office, maintenance will be far more efficient as the vehicle will almost literally be self-inspecting, relaying data to staff about its staff. Everything from a minor fender bender to mechanical issues could be reported, prompting faster repair jobs and upgrading when needed.

It’s much akin to a shuttle without humans behind the wheel and if total autonomy is achieved, chances are these might be the only vehicles on the road, all part of a rental fleet, since there wouldn’t be much of an incentive to own a car anymore. It also might lead to fewer cars on the road and fewer congested parking lots.

Much of this will depending on the diversity and expansion of connectivity. Wireless and cloud-based technology can already make the booking and status reporting elements a reality, as an office and vehicle can send and transmit data to each other. Other self-driving features will be added piece by piece, every time connectivity become slightly more sophisticated.

But the next wave, which allows for more autonomous mobility, is progressing steadily to the point where autonomous cars can virtually talk to each other about road conditions and their immediate locations to prevent collisions and increase auto safety. And with all that available on a car rental platform, it’s a safe bet that vehicular autonomy will take the market on roads previously untrodden.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 22

Orlando Boasts Cheapest Rental Car Rates in U.S.

Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

2019 results compiled by SmartAsset in its annual vacation survey

Orlando, Florida is the top vacation destination in the U.S. when it comes to daily car rental rates, according to a recent survey released by financial technology company SmartAsset. The results were part of a study examining 25 of the cheapest vacations spots that would involve a family of four that also examined hotel rates, airfares and restaurants.

Taking the average cost of a three-day rental among companies renting vehicles, SmartAsset determined that Orlando was the cheapest with a daily rate of $36. Excluding additional fees and taxes, that means a family could get around the Florida city for as little as $108 during a long weekend.

San Antonio, Texas and Savannah, Georgia tied for second at $41, followed by Tucson, Arizona at $44. Not far behind were Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and San Jose at $45. Recording the highest in the 25 cheapest cities listed was Tampa Bay at $86 a day.

Orlando’s top berth was also reflected in a study issued a few years earlier by CheapCarRental.net although the daily cost was considerably lower at $26. Rounding out that survey’s top five at the time were Miami ($28), Tampa ($30), Fort Lauderdale ($32) and San Diego ($40).

The biggest reason for variations in price usually has to do with the number of cars sitting in a car renter’s lot. If the space has plenty of vehicles, a company will lower the price, while higher bookings will have the reverse effect. But considering Orlando’s popularity as a tourist destination, a number of factors are at play, including a higher concentration of competitive car rental firms that keep the price down.

Another consideration is a certain number of tourists who visit the city to catch the popular Disney theme park and might also stay at a Disney hotel a short distance from the attraction. But Orlando does have a few annual price spikes, mostly near the beginning of the year with the annual spring break student migration and the Daytona 500 in February.

Experts point out that consumers can find lower rates not only by choosing a vacation destination, but also when they plan to go on holidays. Renters can save up to 60 percent by booking for a weekend than during a weekday, while savings of up to 10 percent can be realized if you book at least six months in advance. Other cost saving incentives include booking the smallest car possible, avoiding airports to book a vehicle and watching for gas prices across the country.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 21

Nissan Dealership finds Profitability in Car Rental Venture

Car Dealerships offering rental services

Image Credit: Depositphotos

And with the right software, the market transition is seamless

It turns out there’s still plenty of room on the car rental bandwagon. Although the market is still dominated by three conglomerates with years of experience in the field, automakers are edging their way into the sector. And now one Nissan dealership in Illinois has been tinkering with the business model with success.

For nearly two years, Mike Connolly, the general manager at Orland Park’s Zeigler Nissan dealer has been taking advantage of an in-house car rental revenue stream. The returns on such a venture has already accounted for nearly 10 percent of Zeigler Nissan’s annual revenue. What’s more, it’s growing at a rate of between 20-25 percent a year.

“I view it as a separate profit center, in addition to new, used, finance, service and parts,” said Connolly to Automotive News. “A rental operation, if done right, can be that extra profit center in the dealership.”

Connolly didn’t even have a car rental in mind when he was coming up with ways to further engage customers with all those Nissans gracing his lot and showroom. He came up with the idea of extending test drives beyond the minimal drive around the block. The idea was to have prospects get behind the wheel for longer, even up to three days during a long weekend to get the full experience of a vehicle before buying it.

The next step was to monetize that test drive and before he knew it, he had a full-scale car rental fleet happening, starting with 25 vehicles, a fleet that has since mushroomed to 80.

While Connolly’s dealership shifting into the car dealership market seemed accidental, it’s a natural progression, said Rob Hano, Director of Sales and Marketing at Bluebird Auto Rental Systems. He addressed that very topic in The Case for Your Dealership to Open A Rental Department, a piece he wrote for Fixed Ops Magazine in 2015.

“Clearly, a dealership based rental operation can be a success,” said Hano, citing recent instances of car rental deregulation and a steady decline in dealerships across the country as two conditions that are ripe for such an opportunity.

He added that dealerships are in a better position than most businesses to venture into car rentals, with an office infrastructure and a ready automobile inventory already available to make that leap. Additionally, Hano stressed that vehicle rental software, such as the products offered by Bluebird, are affordable, user-friendly and easy to integrate with the rest of a dealership’s accounting and management systems.

“There are countless dealerships across the U.S. that have been tremendously successful running substantial rental divisions,” added Hano. “And dealership owners and management are a very unique group in our country.  They are more willing to share information with their peers than most in a friendly and open fashion.”

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 17

New Car Rental Facility Debuts in Hawaii

Kahului Airport opens Car Rental facility

Image Credit: Kahului Airport

Elaborate Kahului airport structure to house all industry major players

If there’s a sure sign that car rentals are alive and well, the fact that one U.S. state put in $340 million into an airport facility to accommodate the industry just might speak volumes. That’s exactly what the state of Hawaii accomplished when it created the Kahului Airport Consolidated Rent-A-Car (CONRAC) facility which opened on Tuesday. A multi-level one-stop spot for rental cars, CONRAC is the largest public facility of its kind on the island of Maui.

Even more impressive is that CONRAC, which took three years to build, didn’t require a dime of taxpayers’ money. All the funding came from a daily $4.50 state-imposed facility tax added to car rental fees at the airport. And while Kahului Airport doesn’t get anywhere near the passenger traffic that the Honolulu-based Daniel K. Inouye International Airport enjoys, where the Maui stop really shines is in generating a lot more car rental revenue, the highest generator of funds in all of Hawaii, according to stats held by the state’s Department of Transportation.

Currently, at least 13 car rental companies including Avis, Budget and Enterprise, have offices in the three-story facility, which takes up 1.3 million square feet. With a sleek, futuristic design, CONRAC was built with environmental friendliness in mind with features created to cut down on energy use and waste as well as elements contributing to a higher quality of indoor air throughout the building.

It’s also fleet friendly with enough space for 1,817 return-ready cars, 1,926 stalls for staging and storage with enough parking room to accommodate nearly 700 employees. Elsewhere in the facility are a dozen car wash bays, 11 stations for mechanical and maintenance work and 72 fuel stops. Despite its size, customers won’t need to go from one side of the building to another to take advantage of the rental services available. All companies have customer services offices on the main floor.

CONRAC will also be a stop for Kahului Airport’s recently-added free tramway system that makes more than 80 hourly trips and is designed to cut down roughly 25 shuttle buses. Two trams, each with two cars can accommodate nearly 40 passengers per car along the half-mile circuit that can be completed in six minutes. Besides CONRAC, the tram makes two stops at other airport terminals.

With the facility highly praised for reducing congestion and check-in times, one airport official remarked that the addition of CONRAC was not only a long time coming, but will boost the morale of car rental companies housed in the new building.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 16

Rental Cars could fill Canadian Void with Rise of MaaS

MaaS in Canada Public Transit Car Rentals

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

New mobility wave (MaaS) rises in response to declining auto sales

In the U.S., the gradual movement away from car ownership has caused ripples across the auto industry and other peripheral sectors with mixed results. Automakers have been contending with decreasing vehicular production the past few years, especially with more than half the millennial set opting against owning a car. On the other hand, participants in the car rental and ride sharing industries have noticed gains in revenue the past couple years, especially Enterprise, which posted record earnings in 2018.

But the drop in vehicle ownership isn’t unique to the U.S. According to the CBC, it’s also prevalent in Canada. And in a country that places more value in combatting climate change than its southern neighbor, even the rollouts of electric vehicles, with autonomous models around the corner, haven’t been enough to lure younger citizens to the four-wheel lifestyle.

One statistic recently unveiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants indicated that sales of light vehicles in Canada dropped in 2018 by nearly 10 percent over the previous year. A McGill study demonstrated that young people who drive has been dropping steadily since 2003, as low as 18 percent in the case of adults aged 25-29.

The evidence among automotive and demographic experts hints that there’s a movement among young Canadians to simply opt against not only car ownership but driving altogether. Reasons vary from inflation, reduced income in a gig economy, environmental consciousness and changes in urban planning and public transportation.

The changing faces of car ownership in Canada are slowly giving away to a new movement that’s being dubbed MaaS, short for Mobility as a Service. In this instance, the idea of mobility as an asset is dropping as a result of people deciding not to own a vehicle and be burdened by those extra costs including insurance and fuel. Correspondingly, that shift has much of the traffic heading towards public transport, ride sharing and even car rentals.

According to Statistica, Canada’s car rental market stands to gain from the move towards MaaS. Revenues in 2019 are predicted to hit US$806 million, with a growth rate conservatively estimated at 1.3 percent annually and slated to reach US$849 million by 2023. Major companies like Enterprise, Avis and Hertz, which also dominate the U.S. market, will continue to be heavy hitters in Canada.

And barring any additional impact from ride sharing competitors, if MaaS continues to gain momentum, those figures could be even higher.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 14

Ways That Airport Car Rental Apps Can Boost Revenue

Airport Car Rental Mobile App

Image Credit: Pexels

Mobile app developer highlights advantages for auto industry startups

It’s a given that the world’s largest rental car companies are taking advantage of smartphone technology in a big way to increase business efficiency and boost customer amenities. And with the big boys getting a great deal of mileage out of these innovations, there’s very little reason for smaller players to avoid getting onto the fast track to make their operations more competitive.

U.S.-based app developer Space-O Technologies outlined four incentives in a recent article, by following some anecdotal pearls of wisdom that’s benefited Hertz and Europcar, two of the larger companies in the market. According to the article, one of the biggest advantages to car rental apps is that a vehicle is more readily available to a consumer at that person’s request. In particular, the introduction of Hertz’s Fast Lane program has cut down on the length of time it takes to book a car to less than 30 seconds. And with its plan to extend that program by using biometric features such as face and fingerprint recognition, the service will not only become faster, but even safer to use.

A second advantage in an app’s favor is in how much easier it is to modify a booking. Besides looking at what models are available, a customer can also specify specific needs, such as a vehicle that includes features that accommodate small children. Or if a user runs into a business partner willing to tag along after a plane arrives at its destination, altering a request can be made in seconds.

While an app isn’t necessary to request road assistance, it’s a feature that’s vital for a company’s livelihood, and a third reason why apps are increasing in importance. Most car rental apps not only enable fast and convenient requests for roadside assistance, but additional features can pinpoint the type of help needed. And response is generally faster than via conventional methods of contact. Such a feature also reinforces a company’s reputation for customer service, demonstrating that quick attention to fixing a problem is one way to demonstrate how a car rental company can focus on addressing the needs of its clients.

Finally, an app is an ideal way to introduce perks to its clientele, such as discounts or even some free incentives. It’s a nifty way to help a startup grow its business and snare a steady critical mass needed to operate in the long term. For example, if a new company offers a free booking to a client who’s rented from the firm a certain number of times before, chances are, that person is going to stick with that service.

But the bigger picture to consider is that the global rental car market is slated to grow annually by six percent between now and 2022, possible generating revenue as high as $99.6 billion in three years. Technology, especially in app development, will be a major key to that growth, and something that smaller players cannot do without.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 13

Google experimenting with Voice Recognition in Car Rental Booking Software

Google announces plans for voice recognition to rent cars.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Feature slated for Android phones in the U.S. this year

Google announced plans to roll out a voice command component designed for car rental apps to enable users to book a vehicle simply by chatting with a virtual assistant feature. The company revealed the technology May 7 at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters via a live demonstration on a National Car Rental website.

However, the feature’s applications will extend beyond getting an edge in the car rental industry. The bigger picture will see the voice command technology add more artificial intelligence elements into Google Assistant, the virtual helper developed by the high-tech company.

Once the virtual helper gets a verbal command from the user to book a vehicle from a particular car rental, the feature then goes through the process. If the user has already indicated a time, date and destination on Google calendar and has an email confirmation of an air ticket in an inbox, the available information makes booking faster and simpler.

Google Assistant can also fill remaining fields of the user on the car rental company website, including vehicle preference. Any blanks remaining can be filled when Google Assistant asks users for selections need to complete the process, after which a booking reference email with a confirmation number pops up in the unbox.

“It’s amazing to see the Assistant complete a task online, on your behalf, in a personalized way,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the event. “This was not a custom integration. This required no action on behalf of the business to implement.”

The demonstration was an extension of the capabilities of Google Assistant, first introduced in 2018 as part of the company’s Duplex service, originally designed to make restaurant appointments. Modifications in Duplex, showcased in front of more than 7,000 software developers attending the May event confirmed not only its prowess in booking a rental, but also ordering movie tickets online via a voice prompt.

The timing of the event was also curious to investors pointing out that shares in Alphabet, Google’s parent company since 2015, have gone down considerably. While costs have risen steadily, those expected revenues from the last quarter were roughly $1 billion below what was predicted. Those with considerable interest in Google likely eyed the demonstration as a way of how the company can monetize its recent innovations involving artificial intelligence.

Undeterred, Google plans to make the rental car booking feature available in the U.K. and the U.S. later this year.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 10

Hertz Upgrades Car Rental Apps with Biometric Features

Hertz Mobile App Biometric Features

Image Credit: Hertz

Facial and fingerprint recognition designed to increase speed and security

A new feature that was until recently the stuff of science fiction is being added to Hertz apps available to users of Apple and Android smartphones. The feature aims to speed up and simplify booking through the adaptation of facial and biometric recognition technology. This will enable customers to log in via showing their faces or providing a fingerprint to access their Hertz accounts.

“When redesigning the Hertz app, we listened to customers and what they wanted most,” said Hertz Senior Vice President, Brand Jayesh Patel. “Our customers told us they wanted faster reservations, better visibility to their loyalty program rewards and easy access to their rental history and receipts. The updated Hertz app offers those solutions and many more, representing our continued effort to advance our capabilities for a great customer experience.”

The modifications were made possible by Hertz’s partnership with New York-based biometric innovation company CLEAR, which already services Delta Airlines and Major League Baseball. Besides bookings, customers can use the upgraded app to check their transaction history, manage their accounts and even get roadside assistance.

While facial and biometric recognition technology might still seem like a novelty that surfaced on such sci-fi blockbusters like Total Recall and Minority Report, the feature is especially in heavy demand from users of smartphones. Most companies, including those in the car rental industry love the speed of biometric technology to handle tasks ranging from booking vehicles to handling customer service issues.

But its need is far more fundamental to those wanting to guard their privacy. With cyberattacks becoming more the norm, facial and biometric recognition has been proven to be far more secure than passwords, since everyone’s organic features, from facial appearances to fingerprints, are totally unique.

According to CLEAR, the technology works when customers first supply images of their face and fingerprints, which allows the software to convert that material into an encrypted code. Subsequent access to the app involves supplying facial images or fingerprints, which will be cross-referenced to that code. If there’s a match, the users are logged in.

Hertz has already taken the biometric leap earlier this year when it launched the Fast Lane program, a convenience designed to speed up service. The initiative was launched earlier in 2019, once the company installed facial recognition terminals at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, enabling users to book a vehicle in as little as 30 seconds. With plans to add more at 40 other U.S. airports before the year is out, and available only to customers with Hertz Gold Plus cards, the company hasn’t reported any issues surrounding the technology.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

May 08

Volkswagen Nervous about Expanding Electric Production for Car Rentals

Audi e-tron Volkswagen car rental fleets

Image Credit: Audi

German automaker’s green lineup noticeably absent from car rental fleets

Enterprise has electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S in its fleet. Avis boasts a green arsenal that includes the Leaf as well as the Toyota Auris and the Hyundai Ioniq. And with domestic automakers planning to roll out electric cars, such as General Motors’ plan to make its Cadillac line totally battery-powered, car rentals might even consider adding those models once available.

But so far, electric cars created by Volkswagen aren’t likely to be snared by car rentals in the near future. Even though it rolled out the fully electric version of the Audi E-tron SUV back in 2011, its high sticker price and range performance, which pales significantly to such rivals as Tesla didn’t click with consumers. A fleet scan of all major car rentals didn’t result in the appearance of one E-tron.

Even though VW has had a few favorable financial quarters of late and recently boasted a plan to outdistance its competitors by launching 70 different electric models within 10 years, shareholders are still nervous about this green direction. Part of the problem can be traced to production inefficiencies at Volkswagen, which has a heavily unionized labor force that occupies half of the company supervisory board. Toyota’s labor costs are roughly half of VW, even though their auto output is roughly the same.

VW’s revenue isn’t broken down to sales sources, although recent stats suggest that on average, roughly one-third of what automakers take in are as a result of selling to car rentals. Tesla has been improving its bottom line by selling their Model S to the car rental industry, including a delivery of 17,000 vehicles to Avis offices in Norway and the Netherlands in January. Similarly, all the major car rentals in the U.S. include Teslas, except for Hertz, which has a green fleet consisting entirely of hybrids.

The uncertainty of VW’s electric vehicle plan is unfortunate, given that car rentals might jump at having an electric version of the company’s Porsche line, listed as a rollout for this fall. And going full-scale on electric vehicles might help ease the bad press Volkswagen received last year when it was caught by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency cheating on emissions records back in 2015.

But until VW straightens out its relatively costly infrastructure, car rentals may have to wait a while to see if a model is efficient enough to join their fleets. Meanwhile, folks can’t argue about the merits of renting a Tesla or Nissan Leaf.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Older posts «