June 12, 2002

Enterprise Rent-A-Car tops survey of U.S. rental companies

Westlake Village, California – The results of J.D. Power and Associates 2002 Domestic Airport Rental Car Customer Satisfaction Study released yesterday show that Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranks highest in overall satisfaction among rental car customers. Enterprise was followed by Hertz, National and Avis who all finished above the industry average.

“While customer service is still paramount, price is also a key factor in overall satisfaction,” said Mike Taylor, director of travel services for J.D. Power and Associates. “Study respondents indicated that Enterprise’s rental rates and overall value were significantly better than any other rental car company included in the study.”

Overall, Enterprise demonstrates strong performances in rates and value, which includes pricing and fees, the pick-up process and the return process. Hertz received high marks for the rental car itself and for the reservation process, while National excelled in the return process.

Among business rental car customers, Hertz’s advantages in the pick-up process, the reservation process and the rental car itself are eclipsed by Enterprise’s dominance in rates and value.

“Business rental rates have grown by more than 13 percent in some major markets in the past year,” said Taylor. “When you see those kinds of increases, the consumer can become sensitive to price very quickly.”

Internet usage continues to expand significantly in the rental car market. While only 12 percent of business renters used the Internet to book a reservation in 2001, the study finds 28 percent did so in 2002. Among leisure renters, the percentage went from 27 percent in 2001 to 36 percent in 2002.

“Although making a phone call directly to a rental car company or to a travel agent is still the most popular method of reserving a vehicle, renters are checking the Internet looking for price discounts more often,” said Taylor. “Two-thirds of all renters report getting a discount of some sort.”

The study, now in its seventh year, is based on more than 3,400 evaluations from a random national sample of rental car customers who picked up or dropped off their rental cars at or near airports. Eight major rental car companies are included in the survey: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

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