November 14, 2007


Customer satisfaction with rental cars declines

Westlake Village, California – As frustrations mount for travellers in a year fraught with a record number of flight delays, customer satisfaction with rental cars has declined considerably, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Rental Car Satisfaction Study released on Tuesday.

Now in its 12th year, the study measures overall customer satisfaction with renting cars at U.S. airports by examining six factors (listed in order of importance): costs and fees, pick-up process, rental car, return process, reservation process and shuttle bus/van. Overall satisfaction drops from 767 points on a 1,000-point scale in 2006 to 750 in 2007.

“The decline in customer satisfaction with rental cars is indicative of a general decline in performance throughout the travel industry in 2007-from airports to airlines to hotels,” said Jim Gaz, senior director of travel and entertainment at J.D. Power and Associates. “Rental car customers, in particular, are being faced with rising fuel prices and decreased availability of new rental vehicles, as major automotive manufacturers have reduced their rental fleet sales. While the rental car industry faces its own specific challenges, customer satisfaction may also be influenced by the snowball effect from frustrations consumers are facing with the entire travel experience.”

Enterprise Rent a Car ranks highest in customer satisfaction for a fourth consecutive year, receiving an overall index score of 777. Enterprise performed particularly well in five of the six factors: costs and fees, pick-up process, rental car, return process and shuttle bus/van. Enterprise was followed in the rankings by Hertz and National, respectively.

“In particular, Enterprise has widened the gap from its competition through strong performance in cost and fees and in the functionality of their Web site, as well as in the courtesy of their personnel,” said Gaz. “These strengths could potentially benefit the two rental car companies recently acquired by Enterprise-Alamo and National-as Enterprise aligns these operations.”

The 2007 Rental Car Satisfaction Study is based on 5,859 evaluations from business and leisure travelers who rented a vehicle at an airport location between September 2006 and September 2007. To view ratings of rental car companies, visit JDPower.com.

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