Members can book and drive a Connect by Hertz club car on a pay-as-you-go basis, and they have the option to use the service at any Connect by Hertz city. Launches in further cities are planned for 2010 and beyond.
"In a market that is expected to expand to three million customers across Europe in the next 10 years, today’s launch demonstrates our long-term commitment to growing the global car sharing business internationally," said Robert Stuart, senior vice president of global sales for The Hertz Corporation. "With aggressive plans for ongoing expansion, Connect by Hertz reflects Hertz’s ambition to provide unique transportation solutions across the spectrum of customer needs."
"Flexible mobility solutions which are both economic and environmentally-friendly have never been more popular in Europe,” added Michel Taride, president of Hertz Europe. “With Connect by Hertz, members simply ‘Click. Book. Drive’ – it’s that simple. The car sharing club is an easy-to-use, paperless service that works across multiple markets and integrates the very latest technology to meet the dynamic needs of our customers."
As the first car sharing operator to launch into Madrid, Connect by Hertz opens up the world of car sharing to urban dwellers there, marking a significant milestone for the city. In Berlin, Connect by Hertz offers a competitive service for new and existing car club members.
Connect by Hertz provides members with 24/7 access to a centrally located fleet of environmentally-friendly vehicles. Members can choose from a wide range of cars depending on their needs. The signature MINI Cooper with built-in satellite navigation and i-Pod connectivity and the unique Fiat 500 are just two of the flagship vehicles which make up the fleet. Once enrolled with Connect by Hertz, members receive a smart chip enabled Connect Card, which gives them keyless entry to any car in the fleet that the member reserves.
The competitive hourly rates for Connect by Hertz include insurance, fuel, roadside assistance, maintenance and cleaning. The Connect by Hertz service is backed by a multilingual member care centers for Europe and the U.S. Annual membership fees may apply according to country rate plans.
All Connect by Hertz vehicles are chosen based on a set of aggressive standards. In Europe, the fuel emissions of the majority of Connect by Hertz club cars are less than 120 g/km CO2 maximum output, and all are less the voluntary target of a 140 g/km CO2 maximum output, set by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. In addition, all Connect by Hertz cars in the US are EPA SmartWay certified, indicating high quality environmental performance.
Connect by Hertz also provides a viable option for companies to manage the fixed costs associated with business travel. Hertz helps promote public transportation usage and car pooling, reducing congestion and parking problems while helping the environment. Businesses can reduce expenses and control costs by converting fixed fleet costs into variable costs by only paying for per trip usage. Shared cars can be used for professional purposes, including trips to nearby offices and off-site business meetings. Additionally, businesses can give employees a money-saving perk by offering Connect cars at work, making cars available for personal usage.
Since its inception in December 2008, Connect by Hertz has formed successful partnerships with a number of companies and organizations around the world including Brunel University in the UK and Marriott International, USAA, Ohio State University, Pepperdine University and University of North Carolina. In France, Connect by Hertz has partnerships with several companies based outside of the city whose employees can easily drive around Paris with Connect cars based at railway stations such as Montparnasse and Gare du Nord. Connect by Hertz is already in talks to form partnerships with organizations and universities in Berlin and Madrid.