More than half (56%) of car rental customers reported they first experienced new automotive technology through car rental, according to a survey by Enterprise Holdings.
In addition, when purchasing a car, about half (49%) have added features or technology to their "wish list" after first trying them out in a rental car, says the survey.
Through its rental network and three car rental brands — Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car — Enterprise Holdings processes approximately 1 million car rental transactions every week, or the equivalent of nearly 1 million weekly test drives.
"As drivers, we often don't know we need something until we've tried it out for ourselves — then we can't do without it," said Kurt Kohler, Enterprise Holdings’ senior vice president, vehicle acquisition and remarketing. "Our automotive manufacturing partners have regularly viewed our fleet as a testing ground for new automotive technologies, and this survey reveals that this experience does impact drivers' future purchase decisions."
According to the survey, unfamiliar technology does not faze today's drivers. In fact, most renters (60%) are very comfortable driving a car with unfamiliar technology.
When it comes to having a satisfying driving experience, survey respondents rated safety-related technologies as the most important, especially those that help avoid collisions.
In addition, when buying a new vehicle, renters are more likely to choose a technology upgrade package over a luxury or sport/performance package, according to the survey.
The survey data was gathered from 1,363 randomly chosen members of Enterprise's customer rental database and included customers of its Alamo, National and Enterprise Rent-A-Car brands. Participants must have rented a car at least one time in the last six months, must currently own a car and must be at least 25 years old, according to Enterprise.