TULSA, Okla. -- Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. (DTG) announced that franchisees of the Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental brands may now dual-franchise in small markets where the company has decided not to operate corporately.
This means that franchisees of either brand, in smaller metropolitan areas and under certain conditions, will be able to own and operate both brands in a single market.
The first business owners to take advantage of the new policy are Dollar Rent A Car franchisees Bob and John Conine of JFC Automotive Rental Group L.L.C. They will begin operating a Thrifty Car Rental location in the terminal at Colorado Springs Airport, in addition to their separate Dollar facility. The Conines have been Dollar franchisees in Colorado Springs for five years.
Like DTG's own corporate stores, the dual-franchised stores will have the ability to share back-office functions, maintenance and fleet between the two brands. All Thrifty Car Rental and Dollar Rent A Car customer "touch points" will be separate and served by brand-specific Thrifty and Dollar staff.
"We are pleased to announce our first dual franchise with the Conines," said Don Himelfarb, DTG president and chief operating officer for sales, marketing and administration. "They have a longstanding history of being excellent Dollar Rent A Car operators, and will apply the same high standards to the Thrifty Car Rental brand. We expect the brands will complement each other nicely, and will help the Conines further solidify their strong presence in Colorado Springs."
Dual-franchising of the Dollar and Thrifty brands is also good for consumers, said Himelfarb. "By leveraging shared resources, it will allow both brands to maintain their value edge, which is always a win for consumers," he said.
From their Dollar location in the airport terminal, the Conines currently have a fleet of approximately 230 cars and 25 employees. With the purchase of the Thrifty Car Rental franchise, they expect to add an additional 175 cars and 10 employees.
JFC Automotive Rental Group has two other Dollar locations in Colorado Springs, including one inside The Broadmoor, as well as other locations in Durango, Montrose and Telluride. Thrifty, under previous ownership, had operated at 2540 S. Academy, near the airport, but will now operate inside the airport terminal.
Under the new program, franchisees of both the Thrifty and Dollar brands will be allowed to acquire the other brand in their own market, or a greenfield market that DTG will not be operating corporately. The opportunity usually fits into one of three categories:
·Markets where neither brand is present
·Markets where only one brand is represented by a franchisee
·Markets where there is a transfer of one brand to the other brand's franchisee.
"The synergies we have identified in our new corporate growth strategy will now be available for many franchised operations," said Himelfarb. "By dual-franchising, we will enable our franchisees to drive more business in their market, while leveraging fixed costs. Owning both the Dollar and Thrifty brands will make our franchisees stronger, and provide more coverage where we are currently not operating."
The decision to dual-franchise comes approximately six months after DTG launched a new corporate structure and growth strategy of selectively acquiring larger franchised markets. As part of the strategy, DTG acquired the Thrifty Car Rental franchise in Hawaii in February, adding six new corporate stores.
Another major move took place in February when DTG acquired the master franchise rights to the Dollar brand in Canada. The purchase brought 30 Dollar franchised locations under DTG management, adding to its 129 Thrifty corporate and franchised locations in Canada. Both brands are now managed by the newly named subsidiary, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Canada Inc.
In addition, DTG initiated greenfield operations for Dollar in Milwaukee. Greenfield operations were launched for Thrifty in Charlotte, N.C.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Tucson, Ariz. DTG also acquired the Manchester, N.H. franchise from the Thrifty franchise owner. More acquisitions are expected.