With the help of Jim Tennant of The Tennant Group and Michael Meyer of Rate-Highway, Inc., we are conducting rate surveys on a weekly basis and providing analysis and comments where appropriate. We publish this monthly recap in our electronic edition and more comprehensive looks in the print editions.
After four months of relatively minor year-to-year changes and the July “recall” spike, December rate quotes continued November’s downturn. The Northeast was dramatically down, but it was still about a dollar higher than the Northwest — the next highest rate for the five regions.
Over the Dec. 19-Dec. 21 weekend, Hertz Global Holdings announced that it increased U.S. retail prices for all Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty car rentals reserved for pick-up on or after Jan. 1, 2015.
Our Dec. 26 survey included these announced increases, so we have examined rate quotes by brand and by week for November and December to see the effect on industry rate quotes. Keep in mind that one week is a small sample, and we will have to wait at least another month to draw any final conclusions.
With that caveat in mind, it appears that Hertz’s announcement had the effect of raising industry rates. After nine consecutive weeks (including the last two weeks of October) of year-over-year decreases, the Dec. 26 weighted average was up $2.29 over the same week in 2013.
The Hertz brand itself was down significantly from what appears to be an abnormally high Dec. 27, 2013 average quote, but six of the seven others were up, including Dollar and Thrifty — Hertz Global Holdings’ other brands.
However, for the first time since July 11, 2014, and only the seventh time in the last 52 weeks, the Hertz brand was the highest of the three top tier brands. In all other weeks, Avis or National or both have topped Hertz.