Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

Enterprise Keeping Rental Fleet Longer

November 18, 2008

ST. LOUIS – Enterprise Rent-A-Car is keeping its fleet of cars and trucks in service longer to trim costs in response to the economic slowdown, an executive said Nov. 13, according to Reuters. Enterprise operates a fleet of about 1.1 million vehicles. That includes a rental fleet of about 900,000 cars and light trucks.

Detroit-based automakers have been scaling back their sales to car rental agencies in recent years in response to criticism that the heavily discounted sales have cleared inventory but driven down the resale value of their cars and trucks and damaged the public perception of their brands, according to Reuters.

Enterprise has typically turned over its fleet of rental cars nearly every year. In response to weaker demand, Enterprise has extended that buying cycle to about 13 months. In contrast to most other car rental agencies, Enterprise buys cars outright from the automakers and then sells the used cars back to consumers through its own used-car marketing service. Most rental agencies use "program" purchases from the automakers, essentially leasing new cars for a set period and then returning them to the automaker to be sold through its dealer network.

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