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Rent-A-Wreck is a car rental company that is primarily known for renting used cars at discount prices. The cars may have been personally owned, or they could have been owned by another rental car chain company. They are also known for accommodating younger drivers to whom many other car rental companies will not rent. The average Rent-A-Wreck vehicle is about 3–5 years old on average with 40,000 - 70,000 miles. The company is known as The Smart Alternative, a trademarked phrase.
Founded in 1968 in Los Angeles, Rent-A-Wreck began as a pioneering concept: renting used cars for less at neighborhood locations. Airport based car rental was typical in the 1960s, and most renters were business travellers or vacationers renting while out of town. Media coverage, notably in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Mike Wallace show, sparked national interest in Rent-A-Wreck, and by 1973, the company had sold its first franchised unit.
Since 1973, Rent-A-Wreck has grown to include franchised locations in all 50 U.S. states and in Scandinavia and Saint Maarten. The company operates primarily in neighborhood locations, often connected to or in close proximity to repair facilities, car dealerships or other automotive related services. Some Rent-A-Wreck locations offer airport pick-up and drop off.
Rent-A-Wreck was purchased by JJF Management on January 26, 2006. The purchase privatized the formerly public company, and added it to the stable of dealerships and car rental businesses owned and operated by the Fitzgerald Automotive Group under the leadership of Jack Fitzgerald, Bill Cash, Michael DeLorenzo and Jason Manelli.
Rent-A-Wreck in Canada
A separate Calgary-based Rent-A-Wreck was founded in 1976 in Prince George, BC and not affiliated with the US based firm (changed parent firm from Rent-A-Wreck Capital, Incorporated to Franchise Services of North America, Incorporated). This firm offers car and truck rentals in all 10 provinces and the Yukon Territories.