Survey: Millennials Use Rental Cars as Extended Test Drives

According to a new Enterprise Holdings survey of car renter and owner preferences, most customers (71%) reported that a positive experience renting a certain car changed their perception of that specific car make or model. And with millennials (25- to 34-year-olds), that percentage skyrocketed to 88%.

“Millennial respondents were particularly influenced by the rental experience, indicating that car rental is one of the best ways to introduce an automotive brand to the next generation of new car buyers,” said Kurt Kohler, senior vice president of acquisition and remarketing, Enterprise Holdings.

Contrary to the growing notion that younger Americans are less interested in car ownership, the survey found that 79% of millennials consider owning a car “extremely important” to accomplishing daily work/life tasks – a percentage that was very consistent with the older age groups surveyed.

Overall, respondents reported that renting a vehicle made them more interested in purchasing it. More than half (58%) said that they have considered a car to purchase based on renting it.

According to Enterprise, other survey findings include:

  • With the average age of a passenger vehicle topping 11 years, many millennial respondents (68%) reported first experiencing new automotive technology through car rentals – more than any other way.
  • A total of 57% of millennials agreed that the choice of a rental car’s make and model says a lot about them … their style, personality and values — 46% of men and 48% of women agreed.
  • 53% of millennials said they select a rental car based on the desire to try something new.
  • 28% of millennial respondents said that a rental experience triggered the decision to look for a new car to buy.

Participants in the survey had rented a car at least one time in the last six months, currently owned a car and were at least 25 years old, says Enterprise. The results were based on a total of 1,363 surveys.

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