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Rental Car Comparison - Rental Car Comparison Guide

services offered new trends rental car comparison by brand

Whether you need a car for a quick weekend getaway or for a business trip, you will need to consider a number of factors when choosing a rental car company. The best course is to do a comparison of rental car companies to get the best combination of price and service.

How do Rental Car Companies Compare?

The major rental car companies offer services in all fifty states and in many foreign countries. For reliability, these companies have the longest and best record in the industry. They have up to date fleets of cars and offer competitive rates by the day or week. In addition, each company tries to offer some unique feature as a way of attracting new customers and maintaining existing customers.

Services Offered

To remain competitive, car rental companies offer extra services or amenities along with the basic rental. For example, a few companies offer free rides to their rental location. This is a great benefit if you don’t have access to a car. Companies at major airports offer a shuttle service to their rental counter if it is off site. Most offer an upgrade to a better model if the car you reserved is not available at time of pickup. Other amenities are GPS equipment, satellite radios, car seats, group discounts, corporate discounts and club or affiliation discounts (AAA or AARP for example).

New Trends

One of the latest trends in the car rental business was introduced by Zip Car which offers cars by the hour, day or week. Reservations are made by internet, iPhone application or telephone. Cars are not located at airports or traditional settings. Instead they are parked on local streets or parking lots and garages. Customers unlock the cars with a special chip-embedded card. Zip Car’s pricing includes free fuel and insurance. Hertz has followed the lead with Hertz Connect, a service offering cars by the hour in a few major urban markets.

Rental Car Comparison by Brand

Here is a comparison of major car rental companies and specific offerings:

Hertz – The largest rental car company in the world featuring a large fleet including the Green Collection of fuel efficient cars and the Prestige Collection featuring luxury cars like Jaguar, Land Rover and Audi. Hertz membership clubs allow members to earn free upgrades and free rentals. Hertz also offers a free pick up service to some of its local rental offices.

Budget – One of the largest companies with 100,000 vehicles, 50% of which are fuel efficient. Budget offers Fastbreak which is an express paperless rental system which makes renting a car quick and easy. It rents all types of vehicles from compact cars to moving trucks.

Avis – The second largest rental car company in the United States with more than 4,000 branches worldwide and a large fleet of cars including chauffeured vehicles. Avis offers many specials and options including navigation systems and car seat rentals at some locations.

Enterprise – Enterprise is one of the largest rental companies with over 6,000 worldwide locations. Enterprise uses the slogan “We’ll pick you up” because they offer pick up service from your location to their local rental office. Enterprise has over 200 airport locations as well as a vast network of suburban and neighborhood locations.

National – National Car Rental has many airport and local offices as well as a large fleet of vehicles from compact to SUV’s, minivans and convertibles. They also have a number of hybrid models in their fleet. Customers can earn credit for free rental days by joining the Emerald Club. National has an express rental system which allows customers to bypass the counter and choose their own cars from the lot.

Thrifty – Geared to budget minded customers, Thrifty offers a wide range of selections in the compact, midsize, and standard categories. The Blue Chip Reward Program offers free membership and features shorter lines and a rewards program for frequent renters. Thrifty’s vehicles are equipped with Pass24 which offers pre-paid tolls, saving money and time on turnpikes and toll roads. GPS systems can be rented on a daily basis. Thrifty offers a number of national and international specials including a 5% discount for seniors in some markets.

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