National Car Rental reports it was the highest-ranked car rental brand in the J.D. Power2013 North American Rental Car Satisfaction Study for the first time since 2001. The study, which surveyed leisure and business travelers who rented vehicles at North American airports, ranked National Car Rental highest in customer satisfaction, followed, in order, by the Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Alamo Rent A Car brands.
This is the second year that Enterprise Holdings’ car rental brands – National, Enterprise, and Alamo – have captured the top three spots in the annual ranking, National notes, and the first time that the brands were the only ones to finish above the industry average.
“Receiving an award rated by our customers is the highest honor we could receive,” said Pam Nicholson, CEO and president of Enterprise Holdings. “Our road warrior customers are some of the most discerning and demanding in our industry. And they’re very hard graders. This recognition from J.D. Power is the definitive demonstration that National is back as a truly first-class car rental brand and is achieving a level of success beyond all expectations.”
National Car Rental notes it is renowned for its focus on business travelers, the convenience and choice offered by its Emerald Club loyalty program, and its investment in customer service. "That reputation reflects a significant turnaround for the brand because, just seven years ago, National’s future looked anything but bright. Chronic restructurings, a revolving door of owners and serious financial setbacks, including a Chapter 11 filing precipitated by the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, greatly diminished the once proud and growing brand," National says.
Then in 2007, National was given a new lease on life, the company notes. The Taylor family – who already had owned and operated their successful flagship brand, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, for 50 years – acquired National and its sister brand Alamo Rent A Car. After the acquisition, Enterprise Holdings recommitted to the brand by investing tens of millions of dollars to upgrade facilities and technology and to create several new marketing campaigns.
Consequently, National began to regain prominence and rack up business travel and loyalty program awards from organizations including the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), The Wall Street Journal, SmarterTravel.com and more. National also earned the 2013 “Leading Edge Award” from Executive Travel magazine, recognizing the brand as the top rental car service in the travel industry. Since the acquisition, National’s airport market share has increased almost 20 percent, National says.
The culmination of National’s turnaround came with the announcement of the J.D. Power study results. National received the highest score in five of the six categories measured: costs and fees; pick-up process; rental car; return process; and reservation process. National performed particularly well in the category of cost and fees – scoring 15 points more than the next-ranked brand and demonstrating the exceptional value that the National brand offers customers.