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Traveling is expensive, especially if you opt to fly. But it’s not just airfare that hurts; parking your car while on vacation for a week can cost a small fortune. Car-sharing services could be the answer to this problem.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car announced its formal support for federal legislation to oversee the way car rental companies manage the safety recall process for vehicles in their fleets, joining Hertz in the fight.
Hertz recently turned to the government hoping for help enforcing priority recall repairsfor fleet vehicles over privately owned cars. The news comes at a critical time for Enterprise, since much of this debate circles around the fact that they accepted responsibility for the deaths of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, who were driving a rented vehicle from Enterprise that had been recalled, but not repaired.
“The vehicle was under recall at the time. The tragedy of the Houck sisters’ deaths can never be undone, and all of us at Enterprise are profoundly sorry,” Enterprise said in an email.
The accident occurred in 2004, but ongoing discussion around this issue began two years ago and it appears that a movement will ensure timely repairs on recalled vehicles. Enterprise originally believed that the additional oversight was not necessary, but have since changed their stance.
“But even with all of these safeguards, a number of individuals and organizations have asked for additional oversight in the form of federal legislation. In the past, we believed that this step was unnecessary, but a growing number of people, including our customers and business partners, clearly want more assurance on this critical issue. We hear them – and what we’ve heard has caused us to rethink our stance.”
There were probably a few times in college when you and your friends really wished someone had a car you could use for a little while.
Maybe you needed to get groceries, or beer, or just a healthy distance from dorm rooms and campus nonsense. Whatever the need, California-based company Wheelz Inc. is trying to address it by linking students who have cars, and don’t always need them, with campus members who need short-term wheels.
Wheelz Inc., uses the idea of peer-to-peer car sharing to offer students a specifically-targeted platform for getting a car when they need one. The company received a major boost when Zipcar, the industry leader in car sharing, invested $13.7 million in their project.
“One of the reasons we’re excited to partner with Zipcar is that they bring a decade of operational experience,” Wheelz CEO Jeff Miller said.
That operational experience, according to Miller, will play a key role in helping Wheelz grow as a business in the future. Currently, anyone associated with Stanford, UC Berkeley, USC and UCLA are able to participate in the program. Students, administrators, teachers and anyone with a “.edu” email address from a participating campus may participate.
Over in the United Kingdom, Hertz has teamed up with Premiere Velocity in order to offer their customers the ability to rent some of the world’s finest exotic supercars. The list of exotics being offered is impressive including Lamborghini‘s LP560-4 Bicolore and Aventador, Porsche‘s Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, Ferrari‘s 458 Italia, Range Rover‘s Evoque, Mercedes-Benz‘s Brabus S-Class and SLS AMG Roadster, Rolls-Royce’s Phantom and even McLaren’s MP4.
The full range of cars available is up on Hertz’s website and a 5-percent discount is offered when booking through http://www.hertzsupercars.com. Prices vary, but a C63 AMG for example is £201.25 a day ($314) while an Audi R8 is £362.25 ($565). Hertz wand Premiere will also offer customers with a bespoke meet, greet and delivery system at any agreed location whether it be their home, office, hotel or airport.
The requirements? Enough money, 25-years of age and no more than six points on their driver’s license.
There’s a scene in the movie Just Married—scratch that, every comedy about Europe ever—where the main characters squeeze themselves into a hopelessly small rental car that may or may not be a Smart, and then zany hijinks ensue. But those traveling to Europe might get the chance to rent something a little more exciting than that.
Hertz is now offering the Lotus Evora, as part of their Adrenaline range. The Adrenaline collection is already available Stateside with the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, but beginning now, customers in Spain, France, Germany, and the UK can choose from forbidden fruit such as the Alfa Romeo Brera, Fiat 500 Abarth, and the VW Scirocco. The Evora tops off this range, and Hertz will be the only company to offer a Lotus in its lineup.
If you feel like plonking down 250 Euros per day, the Evora will be available from all major airports in Rome, Barcelona, London, Bordeaux, and Frankfurt. No word on whether the Evora will make it into America’s lineup, however—those coming from big American cars might still find room to complain about the size.
Zipcar’s interesting business model has inspired others to think outside the box when it comes to car rentals and now Getaround is looking to add technology to the mix in coming up with a very interesting solution.
Essentially Getaround is looking to unleash a viable way of peer-to-peer car rentals, where those offering the rental cars would be everyday people like yourself and those looking to rent the cars would be the same everyday person. Getaround would provide the infrastructure and marketing/advertising while you provide the vehicle for rental and the result is a 60/40 split, in Getaround’s favor of course.
Essentially the success of this program lies on how many people are willing to let anyone and everyone access to their vehicle. But as Getaround co-founder states, the average vehicle in the United States sits for 22 hours – that’s a lot of hours you’re paying to not use the vehicle. So why not rent it out?
Cautious ones can be reassured that Getaround has full coverage and an insurance backer, though they didn’t disclose who is underwriting them. The rates seem reasonable per hour, with a Mini Cooper running around $5.50, a BMW Z4 for $15.00, and a Tesla Roadster for a nice $50. Whether or not your share of the profit really covers the depreciation that’s going on with your vehicle as its being driven for those hours can still be debated, but those that really don’t sit there and put mathematical sense to everything could easily have their lease payment covered if they just watch the mileage.
Getaround is currently offering beta testing of the program in San Francisco and San Diego, California. The network of available vehicles is obtained through an iPhone app and those wishing to rent out their vehicles will receive a car kit that sits on the dash. Once someone has decided which car they wish to rent, the app will let them know the location and they’ll be able to unlock the vehicle at which point they’ll have to find the key that’s hidden somewhere in the inside.
GALLERY: Getaround Car Rental System