Market Overview

The automobile rental trade is a multi-billion greenback sector of the US financial system. The US section of the trade averages about $18.5 billion in income a 12 months. At this time, there are roughly 1.9 million rental autos that service the US section of the market. As well as, there are lots of rental businesses moreover the trade leaders that subdivide the whole income, specifically Greenback Thrifty, Finances and Vanguard. Not like different mature service industries, the rental automobile trade is extremely consolidated which naturally places potential new comers at a cost-disadvantage since they face excessive enter prices with decreased chance of economies of scale. Furthermore, a lot of the revenue is generated by a couple of companies together with Enterprise, Hertz and Avis. For the fiscal 12 months of 2004, Enterprise generated $7.4 billion in complete income. Hertz got here in second place with about $5.2 billion and Avis with $2.97 in income.

Degree of Integration

The rental automobile trade faces a very totally different surroundings than it did 5 years in the past. In accordance with Enterprise Journey Information, autos are being rented till they’ve collected 20,000 to 30,000 miles till they’re relegated to the used automobile trade whereas the turn-around mileage was 12,000 to fifteen,000 miles 5 years in the past. Due to sluggish trade development and slender revenue margin, there isn’t any imminent menace to backward integration inside the trade. The truth is, among the many trade gamers solely Hertz is vertically built-in by Ford.

Scope of Competitors

There are a lot of components that form the aggressive panorama of the automobile rental trade. Competitors comes from two fundamental sources all through the chain. On the holiday shopper’s finish of the spectrum, competitors is fierce not solely as a result of the market is saturated and effectively guarded by trade chief Enterprise, however rivals function at a value drawback together with smaller market shares since Enterprise has established a community of sellers over 90 % the leisure section. On the company section, however, competitors could be very robust on the airports since that section is beneath tight supervision by Hertz. As a result of the trade underwent an enormous financial downfall in recent times, it has upgraded the size of competitors inside a lot of the corporations that survived. Competitively talking, the rental automobile trade is a war-zone as most rental businesses together with Enterprise, Hertz and Avis among the many main gamers have interaction in a battle of the fittest.


Over the previous 5 years, most companies have been working in direction of enhancing their fleet sizes and rising the extent of profitability. Enterprise at the moment the corporate with the biggest fleet within the US has added 75,000 autos to its fleet since 2002 which assist enhance its variety of services to 170 on the airports. Hertz, however, has added 25,000 autos and broadened its worldwide presence in 150 counties versus 140 in 2002. As well as, Avis has elevated its fleet from 210,000 in 2002 to 220,000 regardless of latest financial adversities. Through the years following the financial downturn, though most corporations all through the trade have been struggling, Enterprise among the many trade leaders had been rising steadily. For instance, annual gross sales reached $6.3 in 2001, $6.5 in 2002, $6.9 in 2003 and $7.4 billion in 2004 which translated right into a development price of seven.2 % a 12 months for the previous 4 years. Since 2002, the trade has began to regain its footing within the sector as general gross sales grew from $17.9 billion to $18.2 billion in 2003. In accordance with trade analysts, the higher days of the rental automobile trade have but to return. Over the course of the following a number of years, the trade is predicted to expertise accelerated development valued at $20.89 billion annually following 2008 “which equates to a CAGR of two.7 % [increase] within the 2003-2008 interval.”


Over the previous few years the rental automobile trade has made a substantial amount of progress to facilitate it distribution processes. At this time, there are roughly 19,000 rental areas yielding about 1.9 million rental vehicles within the US. Due to the more and more considerable variety of automobile rental areas within the US, strategic and tactical approaches are taken under consideration as a way to insure correct distribution all through the trade. Distribution takes place inside two interrelated segments. On the company market, the vehicles are distributed to airports and resort environment. On the leisure section, however, vehicles are distributed to company owned services which can be conveniently situated inside most main roads and metropolitan areas.

Prior to now, managers of rental automobile corporations used to depend on gut-feelings or intuitive guesses to make selections about what number of vehicles to have in a selected fleet or the utilization degree and efficiency requirements of maintaining sure vehicles in a single fleet. With that methodology, it was very troublesome to keep up a degree of stability that will fulfill shopper demand and the specified degree of profitability. The distribution course of is pretty easy all through the trade. To start with, managers should decide the variety of vehicles that have to be on stock every day. As a result of a really noticeable downside arises when too many or not sufficient vehicles can be found, most automobile rental corporations together with Hertz, Enterprise and Avis, use a “pool” which is a bunch of unbiased rental services that share a fleet of autos. Mainly, with the swimming pools in place, rental areas function extra effectively since they scale back the chance of low stock if not get rid of rental automobile shortages.

Market Segmentation

Most corporations all through the chain make a revenue based mostly of the kind of vehicles which can be rented. The rental vehicles are categorized into financial system, compact, intermediate, premium and luxurious. Among the many 5 classes, the financial system sector yields essentially the most revenue. As an illustration, the financial system section by itself is answerable for 37.7 % of the whole market income in 2004. As well as, the compact section accounted for 32.3 % of general income. The remainder of the opposite classes covers the remaining 30 % for the US section.

Historic Ranges of Profitability

The general profitability of the automobile rental trade has been shrinking in recent times. Over the previous 5 years, the trade has been struggling similar to the remainder of the journey trade. The truth is, between the years 2001 and 2003 the US market has skilled a average discount within the degree of profitability. Particularly, income fell from $19.4 billion in 2000 to $18.2 billion in 2001. Subsequently, the general trade income eroded additional to $17.9 billion in 2002; an quantity that’s minimally increased than $17.7 billion which is the general income for the 12 months 1999. In 2003, the trade skilled a barely noticeable enhance which introduced revenue to $18.2 billion. Because of the financial downturn in recent times, a number of the smaller gamers that have been extremely depending on the airline trade have executed a substantial amount of technique realignments as a manner of making ready their corporations to deal with eventual financial adversities that will encompass the trade. For the 12 months 2004, however, the financial state of affairs of most companies have progressively improved all through the trade since most rental businesses have returned far better income relative to the anterior years. As an illustration, Enterprise realized revenues of $7.4 billion; Hertz returned revenues of $5.2 billion and Avis with $2.9 billion in income for the fiscal 12 months of 2004. In accordance with trade analysts, the rental automobile trade is predicted to expertise regular development of two.6 % in income over the following a number of years which interprets into a rise in revenue.

Aggressive Rivalry Amongst Sellers

There are a lot of components that drive competitors inside the automobile rental trade. Over the previous few years, broadening fleet sizes and rising profitability has been the main focus of most corporations inside the automobile rental trade. Enterprise, Hertz and Avis among the many leaders have been rising each in gross sales and fleet sizes. As well as, competitors intensifies as companies are continually attempting to enhance their present situations and provide extra to shoppers. Enterprise has almost doubled its fleet dimension since 1993 to roughly 600,000 vehicles in the present day. As a result of the trade operates on such slender revenue margins, value competitors will not be an element; nevertheless, most corporations are actively concerned in creating values and offering a variety of facilities from technological devices to even free rental to fulfill prospects. Hertz, for instance, integrates its By no means-Misplaced GPS system inside its vehicles. Enterprise, however, makes use of refined yield administration software program to handle its fleets.

Lastly, Avis makes use of its OnStar and Skynet system to higher serve the buyer base and provides free weekend rental if a buyer rents a automobile for 5 consecutive days Furthermore, the buyer base of the rental automobile trade has comparatively low to no switching price. Conversely, rental businesses face excessive fastened working prices together with property rental, insurance coverage and upkeep. Consequently, rental businesses are sensitively pricing there rental vehicles simply to recuperate working prices and adequately meet their prospects calls for. Moreover, as a result of the trade skilled sluggish development in recent times attributable to financial stagnation that resulted in an enormous decline in each company journey and the leisure sector, most corporations together with the trade leaders are aggressively attempting to reposition their companies by progressively lessening the dependency degree on the airline trade and regaining their footing within the leisure aggressive enviornment.

The Potential Entry of recent Rivals

Getting into the automobile rental trade places new comers at a critical drawback. Over the previous few years following the financial downturn of 2001, most main rental corporations have began rising their market shares within the trip sector of the trade as a manner of insuring stability and decreasing the extent of dependency between the airline and the automobile rental trade. Whereas this pattern has engendered long run success for the prevailing companies, it has heightened the aggressive panorama for brand spanking new comers. Due to the severity of competitors, present companies reminiscent of Enterprise, Hertz and Avis rigorously monitor their aggressive radars to anticipate Sharpe retaliatory strikes in opposition to new entrants. One other barrier to entry is created due to the saturation degree of the trade.

For instance, Enterprise has taken the primary mover benefit with its 6000 services by saturating the leisure section thereby inserting not solely excessive restrictions on the most typical distribution channels, but additionally excessive useful resource necessities for brand spanking new companies. At this time, Enterprise has a rental location inside 15 miles of 90 % of the US inhabitants. Due to the community of sellers Enterprise has established across the nation, it has change into comparatively steady, extra recession proof and most significantly, much less reliant on the airline trade in comparison with its rivals. Hertz, however, is using the total spectrum of its 7200 shops to safe its place within the market. Mainly, the emergence of a lot of the trade leaders into the leisure market not solely drives rivalry, but additionally it varies straight with the extent of complexity of coming into the automobile rental trade.

The Risk of Substitute

There are a lot of substitutes obtainable for the automobile rental trade. From a technological standpoint, renting a automobile to go the space for a gathering is a much less engaging different versus video conferencing, digital groups and collaboration software program with which an organization can instantly setup a gathering with its staff from anyplace world wide at a less expensive price. As well as, there are different alternate options together with taking a cab which is a passable substitute relative to high quality and switching price, nevertheless it might not be as attractively priced as a rental automobile for the course of a day or extra. Whereas public transportation is essentially the most price environment friendly of the alternate options, it’s extra expensive when it comes to the method and time it takes to succeed in one’s vacation spot. Lastly, as a result of flying provides comfort, pace and efficiency, it’s a very engaging substitute; nevertheless, it’s an unattractive different when it comes to value relative to renting a automobile. On the enterprise section, automobile rental businesses have extra safety in opposition to substitutes since many corporations have carried out journey insurance policies that set up the parameters of when renting a automobile or utilizing a substitute is one of the best plan of action.

In accordance with Tracy Esch, an Benefit director of promoting operations, her firm rents vehicles as much as a 200-mile journey earlier than contemplating an alternate. Mainly, the specter of substitute within reason low within the automobile rental trade for the reason that results the substitute merchandise have don’t pose a big menace of revenue erosion all through the trade.

The Bargaining Energy of Suppliers

Provider energy is low within the automobile rental trade. Due to the supply of substitutes and the extent of competitors, suppliers wouldn’t have a substantial amount of affect within the phrases and situations of supplying the rental vehicles. As a result of the rental vehicles are normally bought in bulk, rental automobile brokers have vital affect over the phrases of the sale since they possess the power to play one provider in opposition to one other to decrease the gross sales value. One other issue that reduces provider energy is the absence of switching price. That’s, consumers should not affected from buying from one provider over one other and most significantly, altering to totally different provider’s merchandise is barely noticeable and doesn’t have an effect on shopper’s rental selections.

The Bargaining Energy of Patrons

Whereas the leisure sector has little or no energy, the enterprise section possesses a big quantity of affect within the automobile rental trade. An fascinating pattern that’s at the moment underway all through the trade is forcing automobile rental corporations to adapt to the wants of company vacationers. This pattern considerably reduces provider energy or the rental companies’ energy and will increase company purchaser energy for the reason that enterprise section is excruciatingly value delicate, effectively knowledgeable in regards to the trade’s value construction, buy in bigger portions they usually use the web to power decrease costs. Trip consumers, however, have much less affect over the rental phrases. As a result of vacationers are normally much less value delicate, buy in lesser quantities or buy extra occasionally, they’ve weak bargaining energy.

5 Forces

At this time the automobile rental trade is going through a very totally different surroundings than it did 5 years in the past. Competitively talking, the revolution of the 5 forces across the automobile rental trade exerts some robust financial stress that has considerably tarnished the aggressive attractiveness of the trade. Because of the financial downturn in recent times, many corporations went beneath specifically Finances and the Vanguard Group as a result of their enterprise infrastructure succumbed to the untenability of the aggressive surroundings. At this time, only a few companies together with Enterprise, Hertz and Avis return a barely above-average income in comparison with the remainder of the trade. Realistically talking, the automobile rental sector will not be a really engaging trade due to the extent of competitors, the limitations to entry and the aggressive stress from the substitute companies.

Strategic Group Mapping

As a reasonably concentrated sector, there’s a clear hierarchy within the automobile rental trade. From an financial standpoint, disparities exist from quite a lot of dimensions together with income, fleet dimension and the market dimension every agency holds available in the market place. As an illustration, Enterprise dominates the trade with a fleet dimension of roughly 600,000 autos together with its market dimension and its degree of profitability. Hertz is available in second place with its variety of market shares and fleet quantity. As well as, Avis ranks third on the map. Avis is amongst one of many corporations that’s having points recovering its income margins from previous to the financial downturn. As an illustration, in 2000 Avis returned revenues of roughly $4.23 billion. Over the course of the following a number of years following 2000, the income of Avis has been considerably decrease than that of 2000. As a manner of decreasing uncertainty most corporations are progressively lessening the extent of dependency on the airline trade and rising the leisure market. This pattern might not be in one of the best curiosity of Hertz since its enterprise technique is intricately linked to the airports.

Key Success Components

There are a lot of key success components that drive profitability all through the automobile rental trade. Capability utilization is likely one of the components that determines success within the trade. As a result of rental companies expertise lack of income when there are both too few or too many vehicles sitting of their tons, it’s of paramount significance to effectively handle the fleets. This success issue represents an enormous energy for the trade because it lowers if not fully eliminates the presumably of working brief on rental vehicles. Environment friendly distribution is one other issue that retains the trade worthwhile. Regardless of the constructive relationship between fleet sizes and the extent of profitability, companies are continually rising their fleet sizes due to the aggressive forces that encompass the trade. As well as, comfort is likely one of the essential attributes by which shoppers choose rental companies. That’s, automobile rental shoppers are extra vulnerable to renting vehicles from companies which have handy rental and drop off areas. One other key success issue that’s widespread amongst competing companies is the combination of know-how of their enterprise processes. By means of know-how, as an example, the automobile rental corporations create methods to fulfill shopper demand by making renting a automobile a really agreeable ordeal by including the comfort of on-line rental amongst different alternate options. Moreover, companies have built-in navigation techniques together with roadside help to supply prospects the piece of thoughts when renting vehicles.

Trade Attractiveness

There are a lot of components that influence the attractiveness of the automobile rental trade. As a result of the trade is reasonably concentrated, it places new market entrants at a drawback. That’s, its low focus represents a pure barrier to coming into the trade because it permits present agency to anticipate sharp retaliations in opposition to new entrants. Due to the dangers related to coming into the trade amongst different components, it’s not a really engaging sector of {the marketplace}. From a aggressive standpoint, the leisure market is 90 % saturated due to the lively efforts of Enterprise to dominate this sector of the market. However, the airport terminals are closely guarded by Hertz. Realistically talking, entry within the trade provides low profitability relative to the prices and dangers related. For many shoppers, the primary figuring out components of selecting one firm over one other are value and comfort. Due to this purpose, rental companies are very circumspect about setting their charges and that usually power even the trade main gamers within the place of providing extra to the shoppers for much less simply to stay aggressive. Hertz, for instance, provides wi-fi web to its prospects simply so as to add extra comfort to their journey plans. Avis however, provides free weekend specials if a buyer rents a automobile for 5 consecutive weekdays. Primarily based on the influence of the 5 forces, the automobile rental sector will not be a really engaging trade to potential new market entrants.


The rental automobile trade is in a state of restoration. Though it might appear to be the trade is performing effectively financially, it’s nonetheless progressively regaining its footing relative to its precise financial place inside the final 5 years. As a manner of insuring profitability, moreover searching for market shares and stability, most corporations all through the chain have a typical objective that offers with decreasing the extent of dependency on the airline trade and transferring towards the leisure section. This state of movement has engendered some fierce competitors amongst trade rivals as they try and defend their market shares. From a futuristic perspective, the higher days of the automobile rental trade have but to return. As the extent of profitability will increase, I consider that a lot of the trade leaders together with Enterprise, Hertz and Avis will likely be bounded by the financial and aggressive limitations of mobility of their strategic teams and new comers could have a greater likelihood of infiltrating and realizing success within the automobile rental trade.


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