Enterprise Rent-A-Car's announcement of its intent to purchase Vanguard Car Rental Group Inc., which operates the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, seems to bode well for both agents and consumers due to the complementary nature of the businesses.
"We think this is very good news for consumers and travel agents," says Ron Cerko, vice president, travel industry sales, Enterprise Rent-A-Car. "This acquisition will bring together two rental car companies with highly complementary businesses and will enhance the combined operations' ability to offer low rates and quality service to all customers. We'll also be able to offer a broader range of services to consumers—whatever their needs and wherever they rent from us."
Cerko notes that the agreement will enable the company to
utilize fleets more efficiently, since National and Alamo have a strong airport
Travel agents have witnessed these types of acquisitions before. After 9/11, car rental companies were reeling from the resultant corporate travel recession. In 2002, Cendant, which already owned Avis, bought Budget out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Cendant positioned Avis as its premium brand and Budget its value-oriented brand. During these tough times, Avis cut its workforce by 10 percent and reduced its fleet. Avis shifted some of its efforts to opening new residential locations and to attracting more of the leisure market. By 2004, Cendant had Avis and Budget sharing a common rental system, fleet, and back-office operation, creating annual cost savings of $100 million.
"With this purchase, I don't think we'll see too may
changes in procedures," says Janet LaMacchia, travel consultant with
Camarillo Travel in
LaMacchia, a 25-year travel agency veteran, gives high marks
It will be 90 to 100 days before the details of the merger are disclosed.
"Many of the questions about branding will have to be
evaluated and answered once the transaction is completed," says Cerko.
"We want to take as much time as necessary to figure out what makes