Car Rental Customers 55% More Likely to Buy New Vehicles than Average Consumer

New Vehicle Purchase Decision Highly Influenced by Rental “Test Drive” Experience

ST. LOUIS (June 26, 2013) – Car rental customers try before they buy, according to a new study commissioned by Enterprise Holdings. The study conducted by Polk, the premier provider of automotive information and marketing solutions, found customers who rent a car from Enterprise Holdings’ brands – Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental – are 55 percent more likely than the average consumer to purchase a new vehicle within six months of their rental.

Polk's analysis revealed that 1.2 million new cars (out of 11.4 million retail sales) were purchased by consumers within 180 days of renting from an Enterprise Holdings brand. Therefore, Enterprise, National and Alamo customers purchased 1 out of 10 new vehicles that were sold last year. 

Polk’s analysis also found the highest purchase rates are among Enterprise Rent-A-Car replacement renters − customers who rent from neighborhood locations because their cars are in for body work or mechanical repairs. These replacement renters are twice as likely as the average consumer to purchase a new car within six months of their rental. But customers who rented from Enterprise, Alamo and National at the airport are also more likely to buy. Leading the way are National’s airport customers, who are 45 percent more likely to purchase a new vehicle than the average American. 

“This research confirms that, for many consumers, renting a car is truly an extended test drive,” said Mark Pauzé, senior product marketing manager, Polk. “The rental experiences provided by Enterprise, Alamo and National are highly influential in the purchasing decisions of potential car buyers. And these test drives don’t just influence how soon people buy, they often steer them toward a different vehicle than what’s already in their garage.” 

The study covered 23 million individual renters over a 12-month period. The study strongly indicates that many car rental customers are using their rentals to experiment with new makes and models. For example, of the Enterprise brands’ customers who purchased a vehicle they rented, 77 percent, on average, bought a different make and model than what they already owned.

“This analysis bears out what we have known for some time – car rental is an effective way for consumers to experience a vehicle before making a big purchase decision,” said Kurt Kohler, senior vice president, fleet, Enterprise Holdings. “Nowadays our customers experience rental vehicles − many of which are newly redesigned by the manufacturer − with higher trim levels and more enhanced technology, giving our customers a very positive test drive.” 

About Enterprise Holdings

Enterprise Holdings’ network includes more than 6,000 neighborhood and airport offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population – and almost twice as many locations as Enterprise Holdings’ nearest U.S. competitor. Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management together offer a total transportation solution. Combined, these businesses – which include extensive car rental and car-sharing services, commercial truck rental, corporate fleet management and retail car sales – accounted for $15.4 billion in revenue and operated 1.3 million vehicles throughout the world in fiscal 2012. Enterprise Holdings, through its regional subsidiaries, operates the largest fleet of vehicles in the world through a global network of more than 8,200 airport and neighborhood locations under the Enterprise Rent-A-CarNational Car Rental, and Alamo Rent A Car brands. Enterprise Holdings is the largest car rental company in the world as measured by revenue, fleet and employees. Enterprise Holdings’ annual revenues also place it near the top of the travel industry, exceeding all other rental car companies, and most airlines, cruise lines, hotels, tour operators and online travel agencies. 

About the Study

Polk analyzed 2012 rental customer data from all three of Enterprise Holdings’ car rental brands and cross-matched renters against its comprehensive household database, looking for any vehicle purchases, new or used, between 90 and 180 days after the date of the rental. Of the more than 23 million Enterprise, Alamo and National renters studied, 12 percent bought a new or used vehicle compared with only 8 percent of the general U.S. population in the same timeframe. 

About Polk

Polk is the premier provider of automotive information and marketing solutions. The organization collects and interprets global data, and provides extensive automotive business expertise to help customers understand their market position, identify trends, build brand loyalty, conquest new business and gain a competitive advantage. Polk helps automotive manufacturers and dealers, automotive aftermarket companies, finance and insurance companies, advertising agencies, media companies, consulting organizations, government agencies and market research firms make good business decisions. A privately held global firm, Polk is based in Southfield, Michigan, with operations in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.



For more information, contact:

Lisa Martini

Lisa.Martini@ehi.com