The Hertz Corporation

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The Hertz Corporation
Traded asNYSEHTZ
Russell 2000 Component
IndustryCar rental and leasing
FoundedChicago, Illinois, USA (1918)
FounderWalter L. Jacobs[1]
HeadquartersEstero, Florida, USA
Number of locations
9,700 corporate and franchise between Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty (as of 2017)[2]
Key people
Kathryn V. Marinello [3](President and CEO)
RevenueSteady US$8.803 billion (2017)[4]
Decrease US$167 million (2017)[4]
Increase US$327 million (2017)[4]
Total assetsIncrease US$20.058 billion (2017)[4]
Total equityIncrease US$1.520 billion (2017)[4]
OwnerHertz Global Holdings
Number of employees
~37,000 (December 2017)[4]

The Hertz Corporation, a subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings Inc., is an American car rental company based in Estero, Florida that operates 9,700 international corporate and franchisee locations. As the second-largest US car rental company by sales, locations, and fleet size, Hertz operates in 150 countries, including North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and New Zealand.[2] The Hertz Corporation owns Dollar and Thrifty Automotive Group—which separates into Thrifty Car Rental and Dollar Rent A Car.

Hertz Global Holdings, the parent company of The Hertz Corporation, was ranked 335th in Forbes' 2017 Fortune 500 list.[5] As of 2017, the company has revenues of US$8.48 billion, assets of US$20 billion, and 37,000 employees.[6]

The company's early years[edit]

The Hertz Corporation, originally known as Rent-a-Car Inc., was founded by Chicago, Illinois native Walter L. Jacobs in 1918.[1] This small car rental operation began with a dozen Model T Ford cars.[7][8] Within five years, Jacob's fleet expanded to 600 vehicles—generating annual revenues of approximately US$1 million.[8] John D. Hertz, owner of Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company, developed an interest in the brand, leading to him purchasing the company in 1923.[9] It was then renamed to Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System.[8]

Despite being sold to John Hertz, Jacobs continued to serve as president and chief operating officer of Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System until 1961.[1] After three years of ownership, John Hertz sold the rental car brand to General Motors Corporation in 1926, who later purchased the remaining shares of Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company in 1943.[8][10] Under the ownership of General Motors, the company released the first rental car charge card in 1926, opened its first rental car location at Chicago's Midway Airport in 1932, and introduced the first one-way rental plan in 1933.[8][11] Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System expanded services to Canada in 1938, Europe (France) in 1950, and South America in 1961.[8][12]

John Hertz repurchased the brand from General Motors in 1953 through his other company, The Omnibus Corporation.[12] As the new owner, he renamed the brand to The Hertz Corporation and introduced it to the New York Stock Exchange in 1954.[12] The Hertz Corporation relocated their headquarters from Midtown Manhattan to Park Ridge, New Jersey in 1988.[13]

Development of The Hertz Corporation[edit]

Street view of a Hertz location in Denver City, Colorado in 1959.

Now operating as The Hertz Corporation, John Hertz purchased New York-based truck leasing company Metropolitan Distributors in 1954, including a fleet of 4,000 trucks. This acquisition increased The Hertz Corporation's fleet to 15,500 trucks and 12,900 passenger cars.[8]

In 1967, The Hertz Corporation became a subsidiary of Radio Corporation of America.[14] In 1985, the car rental company was sold to UAL Corporation, later known as Allegis Corporation, for a cash deal of US$587.5 million.[15] This acquisition expanded Hertz's vehicle renting and leasing, with nearly 400,000 cars and trucks in 120 countries across the globe.[16]

In the summer of 1987, Allegis Corporation chairman and president Frank A. Olson announced the company would be selling Hertz due to internal changes.[17][18] Park Ridge Corporation, which was owned and operated under Ford Motor Company, purchased Hertz in October 1987 for US$1.3 billion.[18]

By the second quarter of 2005, Hertz produced about ten percent of Ford's overall pre-tax profit.[19] However, after 18 years of ownership, the Ford Motor Company announced it would be selling the Hertz brand with the intent to focus more on building Ford cars and trucks.[20] Private equities Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, The Carlyle Group, and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity agreed to purchase all shares of common stock in Hertz for an estimated US$15 billion, including debt, and the business itself for US$5.6 billion in 2005.[20]

Operating as a public group since November 2006 under Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Hertz began to expand through Europe and the United Kingdom.[21] In late December 2009, Hertz announced the acquisition of used cars dealer British Car Auctions (BCA) from London-based equity firm, Montagu Private Equity, for an estimated £390 million.[22]

Purchase of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group[edit]

Hertz Global Holdings Chairman and CEO Mark P. Frissora announced the company's purchase of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group—a U.S.-based car rental brand with headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for US$2.3 billion.[23][24] The business transaction included Hertz paying $87.50 per share of the Dollar Thrifty stock.[25] The deal was finalized on November 19, 2012 and resulted in a combined 10,400 locations in approximately 150 countries.[13] Before the merge, Dollar Thrifty was the fourth-largest car rental company.[23]

Modern Day Growth[edit]

Following the purchase of Dollar Thrifty, Hertz sold its Advantage Rent a Car unit to Franchise Service of North America and Macquaire Capital in 2012.[25] Activist investor Carl Icahn holds approximately one-third stake in the Hertz brands and controls three board seats.[26] The fiscal year of 2013, Hertz generated approximately US$8.7 billion in revenue.[27]

In May 2013, Frissora and Florida Governor Rick Scott announced Hertz Global Holdings would relocate their worldwide headquarters from Park Ridge, New Jersey to Estero, Florida.[13] Relocation to Southwest Florida was influenced by the state's travel and tourism industry, proximity to Orlando and Miami, to condense corporate offices, and to increase efficiency of Hertz Global brands.[13] A temporary office building in Naples, Florida housed 640 employees until construction of a new facility was completed in 2015.[28][29] Frissora was relieved of his role as Chief Executive Officer and President of The Hertz Corporation by John P. Tague in November 2014.[30]

Kathryn V. Marinello, former CEO of Stream Global Services, was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hertz Corporation on January 2, 2017 following Tague's retirement.[3]

Post-2000 Business Development[edit]

  • 2000 – Hertz introduces SiriusXM Satellite Radio to rental fleet[31]
  • 2002 – Hertz became the first international car rental company to open in China[32]
  • 2006 – Introduction of the Hertz Fun Collection fleet of rental cars[32]
  • 2007 – Hourly car rentals are offered at three locations in New York City and Boston[33][34]
  • 2007 – Expansion of the Green Collection with a $68 million investment Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles[34]
  • 2009 – Acquisition of Paris-based car sharing technology group Eileo S.A.[34]
  • 2011 – Introduction of ExpressRent kiosks at various rental locations in November 2011. This was the first introduction of large-scale car rental kiosks in the United States that used a live agent through video chat[35]
  • 2012 – Total revenue for the year was reported at US$7.1 billion[36]
  • 2013 – Partnering with China's largest car rental company, China Auto Rental[37]
  • 2013 – Introduction of Adrenaline Collection of cars, a line of high-performance sport cars, to Australia[38]
  • 2014 – The Green Collection of rental cars is introduced in Singapore[39]
  • 2014 – Addition of luxury cars Corvette Stingray and Jaguar XJL to fleet[40]
  • 2014 – Hertz Global Holdings reported a total consolidated revenue of US$3 billion for the year's third quarter[41]
  • 2015 – Total net income of US$237 million for the third quarter alone[41]
  • 2015 – Hertz added approximately 335,000 2015 model-year vehicles to its fleet through September 30, 2015[41]
  • 2016 – Hertz Global Holdings reports US$3.7 billion in market capitalization[42]

Hertz Car Rental Locations and Operation[edit]

Hertz has 9,700 corporate and franchise rental locations in 150 countries throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia, The Caribbean, the Middle East, and New Zealand.[2] Hertz rental car locations also exist at major airports including Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta, O'Hare Airport, Newark Liberty International, Beijing Capital Airport, and Tokyo Haneda Airport.

History of Hertz Franchising[edit]

Wilford Gwilliam of Overland West purchased a portion of Hertz franchise in 1941.[43] Overland West is the largest Hertz franchise licensee in North America, operating 27 car rental and four car sales locations in eight states.[44] Gwilliam sold it to Devere J. Sparrow, who led the organization until selling it to his son-in-law, Jerry H. Petersen, in 1976.[45] As the current owner, president and CEO, Petersen oversees franchises and employees.[46]

Hertz 24/7 Car Sharing[edit]

Hertz 24/7, formerly known as Hertz on Demand and Connect by Hertz, was a global carsharing service that launched in December 2008.[47] Hertz 24/7 served customers who paid a fee to rent cars by the hour without hidden costs in Park Ridge, New Jersey, New York, Orlando, Florida, London, England, Paris, France, and Sydney, Australia.[47][48] Operation in the United States ceased in September 2015.[48]

Simply Wheelz and Advantage[edit]

Hertz launched subbrand "Simply Wheelz" in September 2007 for economy-minded and leisure-market audiences. By 2008, the service expanded to airports in California, Florida, and the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.[49] Once an online reservation was made, customers were able to choose one of six types of vehicles at self-service rental kiosks.[49]

Simply Wheelz was rebranded as Advantage Rent-a-Car in the fall of 2009.[25] Hertz announced it would sell Advantage to Franchise Services of North America and Macquarie Capital in December 2012, after the acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group finalized in 2012. After liquidating rental car fleets, Simply Wheelz sold 5,295 vehicles through auctions as of October 25, 2013.[25]

The Fleet[edit]

The Hertz rental car fleet has consisted of a variety of vehicle manufacturers, ranging from BYD, Mercedes, Infiniti, Cadillac, Mazda, Volvo, Toyota, Jeep, and Lincoln, along with various others. By December 2012, the company had over 490,000 cars in the United States.[50] As of 2014, 78 percent of Hertz's fleet includes vehicles that reach 28 miles per gallon or more on the highway.[51]

Specialty Cars[edit]

In 1966, Hertz engaged racing and automotive designer Carroll Shelby to develop an exclusive version of his modified Ford Mustang.[52] The objective was to attract more customers to Hertz and the Hertz fleet would tempt car renters to buy a Mustang or a Shelby-Mustang.[53] One thousand GT350H Mustangs were built as rental cars, although urban legend also maintains that many were missing original engines when returned.[54] The "Rent-a-Racer" program was available in selected locations during the late 1960s for a limited time. The fleet has included Corvettes, Jaguar XK-Es, and AMC AMXs.[52] Hertz reintroduced the program in 2016.[55]

The Green Collection[edit]

Hertz launched its Green Collection of rental cars in September 2006. This fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles has included the Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion, Buick LaCrosse, Toyota Camry, and Hyundai Sonata.[34][56] All vehicles within this group feature Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highway fuel efficiency ratings of 28 miles per gallon-highway.[51]

Heavy Equipment Rentals[edit]

Hertz opened a heavy equipment rental division in 1965, the Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, with its first location in Houston, Texas and headquarters in Park Ridge, New Jersey.[57] HERC became an independently publicly traded company called Herc Rentals Inc. on July 1, 2016.[58]


Let Hertz Put You in the Driver's Seat[edit]

In 1959, the advertising firm of Norman, Craig & Kummel (NCK) was selected as the new advertising agency for Hertz. NCK developed the slogan "Hertz puts you in the driver's seat," which was first used commercially in September 1959. NCK changed the wording to "Let Hertz put you in the driver's seat" by October 1959. Popular a cappella quartet The Hi-Lo's sang the Hertz song for the commercials. Hertz used the line in the early 1960s in print, signs, and television. The series is listed as number 65 in the top 100 advertising campaigns of the 20th century by Advertising Age magazine.[59]

O.J. Simpson[edit]

Former football player O. J. Simpson appeared as a spokesperson in Hertz ads. Simpson's place in advertising is said to have sparked African-American athletes being featured in film and television.[60] One spot from the mid-1970s showed Simpson, as a football player he was, running through an airport terminal, dressed in business attire, leaping over rows seats to get his Hertz rental car. A woman yelled, "Go, O. J., Go!" The tagline of the ad, as spoken by Simpson, was "Hertz, the superstar in rent-a-car". Through the 1980s and 1990s, Simpson appeared with golf legend Arnold Palmer and actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

Key executives[edit]

Michel Taride in 2015
  • Kathryn V. Marinello was appointed as President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Board of Directors of The Hertz Corporation in December 2016.[61][62]
  • Tom Kennedy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Hertz, is responsible for all aspects of financial management encompassing treasury, tax, risk management, accounting, financial reporting, business planning, corporate development, and corporate policies and procedures since December 2013.[63]
  • Tyler Best is the Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer since January 2015. He oversees the company's global information technology functions.[64]
  • Alexandria Marren was named Executive Vice President of North American Rental Car Operations in August 2015.[65]
  • Michel Taride was appointed Executive Vice President and President of Hertz International, Ltd. in January 2010. Taride has managed fleet planning and remarketing functions of Hertz International since December 2010.[66]


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