A Tribute to Gil Cygler

Gil Cygler (second to right) facilitates the ribbon cutting to launch the Carpingo carsharing service in 2012 with Brooklyn dignitaries and legislators.
Gil Cygler (second to right) facilitates the ribbon cutting to launch the Carpingo carsharing service in 2012 with Brooklyn dignitaries and legislators.

On June 17, Enterprise Holdings announced that it had purchased the AllCar Rent-A-Car and Carpingo brands from Citiwide Auto Leasing Inc.

Both AllCar, a neighborhood car rental provider, and Carpingo, a carsharing service, operated primarily in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. As part of the acquisition, all eight AllCar Brooklyn branch offices will discontinue operations and customers will be served by nearby Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations, according to Enterprise.

Gil Cygler, owner of Citiwide Auto Leasing, started working with his father at the car rental business when he finished college. Founded in 1979, AllCar began when Cygler’s father Samuel began renting cars to customers who needed a temporary vehicle while their own was being fixed at his car repair and service station.

Cygler not only grew the AllCar brand but also took an active role in shaping the car rental business in New York and nationwide.

In the 1990s, Cygler worked in the legislative trenches to overturn the law in New York State that prohibited the sale of loss damage waiver (LDW) and limited a car rental company’s ability to collect for vehicle damage to $100.

“I met Gil Cygler under the most egregious circumstances in 1988,” said Sharon Faulkner, executive director of the American Car Rental Association (ACRA). “The rental industry in New York was under attack, and the rental car owners/operators and CEOs were gathering to begin the strategies of war against the now infamous amendment to Section 396Z, the N.Y. general business law that banned the sale of LDW.”

Cygler and the quickly formed New York Vehicle Rental Association (NYVRA) held numerous meetings and met dozens of elected officials. In late 2012, they were able to overturn the law.

Gil also served on the board of directors of the American Car Rental Association (ACRA) for two terms for a period of 10 years.

“His contributions to the industry have been done quietly, without fanfare and always with honor and integrity,” said Robert Muhs, vice president of government affairs for Avis Budget Group and a member of ACRA’s Board of Directors. “He will be missed on the board but will not be forgotten.”

In 2012, Cygler received the 2012 Russell Bruno Award for outstanding service to the car rental industry and was named the King of Kings for his involvement in a number of civic and business organizations.

Gil Cygler received the 2012 Russell Bruno Award. Sharon Faulkner, executive director of ACRA, presented the award.
Gil Cygler received the 2012 Russell Bruno Award. Sharon Faulkner, executive director of ACRA, presented the award.

“Gil Cygler is a very quiet champion,” said Faulkner. “Gil would be the first to downplay his accomplishments. When given the award, Gil credited his father for teaching him about the virtues of hard work, customer service and integrity. He always believed that there is more to running a business than working in an office all day and continuously stayed involved with community affairs and rental car legislative matters.”

McKenzie Spalding, general manager of Choice Auto Rental, enjoyed sharing ideas with Gil — from one independent car rental operator to another.

“It takes a special kind of person to consistently compete against the nationals, and Gil did a commendable job at doing just that,” said Spalding. “I personally and professionally grew by knowing him, and the industry, ACRA and its members benefitted from his involvement and guidance. Thank you, Gil for your dedication and knowledge shared.”

“I applaud all of Gil’s accomplishments in the world of rental car,” added Faulkner. “I congratulate him on the sale of his family business to Enterprise. I will miss his involvement with ACRA and the smaller company representation that he lent to our board. But I know I will have a forever friend in spite of our original introduction many years ago.”

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