Mark Frissora gives the keynote address at the 2012 Car Rental Show.
For a photo gallery of the 2012 Car Rental Show, click here.
With more than 100 international attendees and some 700 attendees in total, the 2012 Car Rental Show (CRS) convened this week in Las Vegas.
“Our increased attendance and our expanded program, as well as overflowing seminar rooms and an enlarged expo hall are testaments to the renewed vigor and attention focused on the auto rental industry right now,” said Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News, the show’s sponsor (for his blog about the show click here). “CRS has solidified its place as the only global event dedicated entirely to the auto rental industry.”
Presented in conjunction with the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), CRS kicked off with a Sunday night cocktail reception and segued into four Monday morning pre-conference seminars. After two full days of programming, the show officially closed Wednesday morning with a newly added seminar.
In a first for the Car Rental Show, now in its 17th year, the speaker schedule kicked off with a special address from Congressman Sam Graves of Missouri. Graves addressed the audience on the road to the passage of the historic Graves Amendment that ended vicarious liability for rental and leasing companies.
In addition, Graves, who is chair of the House of Representative’s Small Business Committee, presented the need for tax certainty, an end to regulatory activism and the need for energy independence through development of domestic fuel supplies. “We are an energy rich nation that acts like an energy poor nation,” Graves said.
Graves also outlined a bill, HR 2469, he has co-authored that would eradicate car rental excise taxes on a federal level. “The sad thing with that type of tax is all it does is hurt consumers,” he said. HR 2469 is backed by ACRA as well.
In a dual keynote address, Mark Frissora, chairman and CEO of The Hertz Corp., and Gary Rappeport, CEO of Donlen Corp., explained the convergence of auto rental and leasing and how technology is poised to bring about new transportation solutions. “Customers are smarter than they have ever been,” Frissora said.
Frissora said the industry has weathered the economic storm with higher levels of customer satisfaction, stronger balance sheets and financing structures and is benefitting from the restructuring of the auto manufacturers.
He also showed studies stating that world travel will double by 2020 and that rental car revenue as a percentage of U.S. gross domestic product is growing. He said that growth in local markets is being driven by people who rent cars when they would have flown, while the migration trend back into cities presents opportunities for new mobility options such as car sharing.
Rappeport, whose company is a major commercial fleet lessor and was purchased by Hertz last year, outlined the potential synergies between car rental and commercial fleet management. Donlen and Hertz are piloting a new leasing concept in which corporate clients can lease a used rental vehicle from Hertz’s inventory. The companies are leveraging Donlen’s telematics technology with Hertz connect2go, its corporate pool management program.