U.S. Car Rental Revenues Rise in 2010

The U.S. car rental industry will earn an estimated $20.551 billion in revenues in 2010, reported Auto Rental News in its annual survey of car rental fleets, locations and revenue in the United States. Up slightly over 2009, this year's revenue total will be achieved with a smaller rental fleet, bringing average revenue per unit to $1,051 per month, a record high.

"The car rental industry is working off of solid fundamentals coming out of the recession," said Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News. "Auto manufacturers have shown a more disciplined approach in sales to rental. This is producing high new car prices for rental companies, yet is keeping resale values high. Rental fleets are right-sized to consumer demand and rates are healthy. These forces, coupled with a recovery in travel, bode well for the industry moving forward."

For the first time, Auto Rental News has included Zipcar in its annual revenue analysis. Zipcar, the largest car sharing company in the world, achieved $131 million in global revenue last year.

Zipcar's rapid expansion shows that the car sharing concept is growing from its initial locations in urban centers to universities, corporate campuses and apartment building garages.

"Car sharing is still only a small portion of the car rental revenue pie, and certainly, the usual way of renting cars is not going away any time soon," says Brown. "But new business models succeed with technology and scalability, and Zipcar is doing exactly that, with fewer cars and higher revenue per day than conventional car rental."

To view results of the survey, click here.

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