Some buyers believe the myth that rental vehicles are not as well taken care of and therefore won’t pay as much for them. This notion is becoming more important with the switch to risk units, as any small swing in residual value spread over a fleet of cars can greatly impact the bottom line.

That rental fleet sales myth is now being addressed by Carfax’s Service Link program, free to auto rental companies.

Service Link transmits fleet vehicle maintenance records to Carfax Vehicle History Reports. The reports are immediately available to buyers, giving them the piece of mind that the vehicle has been well cared for—and is thus worth more.

“We would like to help rental car companies capitalize on the positive perceptions of that core constituency that loves rental cars,” says Larry Gamache, communications director for Carfax. “At the same time we’d like to build awareness among the detractors by showing them that rental cars are great values and should be considered when they come across them on a used car lot.”

Carfax has recently begun offering its Vehicle History Reports to the rental industry, though it has been working with used car dealers and fleets using the same concept for years.

GE Fleet Services measured sales results using Carfax and found that after it began reporting service and maintenance information, their vehicles sold for an average of $300 more at wholesale.

“Our dealer base tells us how Carfax reporting helps them to close deals,” says Paul Seger, vice president of asset remarketing for GE Fleet Services. “They can show the customer through a third party that the vehicles have been maintained. It brings confidence to the buying of those vehicles.”

A Virtual Glove Box

Depending on how the rental company receives its maintenance data, Carfax will either work directly with the customer or the customer’s software management system to set up the data feed generated from the service provider.

“Once that’s done, there’s no more work. All you have to do is run the Carfax Vehicle History Report,” says Gamache.

The RAC automatically reports maintenance records through Carfax Service Link. The details of services performed are displayed on the Carfax Report for each visit. The result is a virtual glove box of maintenance information that stays on the Carfax Report for the life of the rental vehicles.

Any rental or fleet company can use Service Link. There is no setup fee for participants, nor is there a charge to transmit the data.

There is a charge for running the Vehicle History Report, which is negotiated as part of the initial contract and is a function of volume.

However, unless the rental operator retails the vehicle and prints the report, that charge is generally assumed by the buyer, i.e., the used car dealer or wholesaler. Gamache says 32,000 used car dealers subscribe to Carfax.