Car hire companies have a slight reputation for playing it safe when it comes to car choice, often preferring to buy cars like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Astra by the thousand from large car manufacturers.
However, there are sound business reasons for this kind of large-scale purchasing and car companies are increasingly widening their range to meet a more varied set of needs. Here are three examples that have all been announced recently.
Europcar To Offer Vauxhall Ampera Across Europe (including UK)
Europcar is to offer customers the chance to hire the Vauxhall Ampera (Opel Ampera in continental Europe) from the end of 2011.
The Ampera, which is one of a new breed of range extender electric cars – basically electric cars with on-board generators to power their motors when the batteries run out – will be made available from November at Europcar branches in Germany. These will be followed by branches in the Netherlands and Belgium, with France, Portugal, Italy and the UK getting the car from the beginning of 2012.
Sixt – BMW Car Share Scheme To Expand
Modern car share schemes are becoming increasingly popular and several large rental companies are now operating their own schemes. Hertz has recently revamped its ‘Connect By Hertz’ scheme, renaming it ‘Hertz On Demand’ – it is now even possible to hire vans by the hour from selected B&Q branches in the UK, through Hertz On Demand.
Sixt also has its own car share operation, which is being run – as befits a German company – in partnership with German car manufacturer BMW. The scheme was first launched in BMW’s home city of Munich and is now set to expand to other European cities, including Berlin, plus hopefully London, Manchester and Birmingham in the UK.
The scheme is administered by Sixt and the cars are provided by BMW; the company’s smallest model, the 1-Series, is used for the scheme and drivers are charged 25p per minute to use the cars within the city bounds. There are no other charges as long as the car remains within the city limits – Sixt takes responsibility for keeping the cars fuelled up; all cars have satellite trackers fitted.
Hertz Customers Go Faster With Lotus Evora
Most car hire customers want something affordable and middle of the road – something that won’t cause any trouble and won’t use too much fuel. Sometimes, however, that just is not enough.
Maybe you are just plain rich, or perhaps you want a treat for a special occasion. Whatever the case, Hertz understands your need and is determined to meet it. Hertz’s Fun Collection is a high octane mix of premium, high performance and all-round desirable cars.
The most recent addition to the Adrenaline fleet is the Lotus Evora, a highly acclaimed model that seems to live up to the Lotus tradition of lightweight performance and handling. Other models already available include the Fiat 500 Abarth and Volkswagen Scirocco.
I don’t think the Hertz Evoras will be quite as hot as this one, though!