June 17, 2007: Source – Baltimore Sun

Prius for rent

If you’ve tried to rent a hybrid recently, you may not have had much luck. Enterprise has a few at some locations, and Fox Car Rental offers hybrids only in California and Phoenix. Toyota dealers will sometimes rent out a Prius through Toyota Rent-a-Car, but not always.

That could change with a couple of big rental-car names jumping into the game. Avis Budget Group will add 1000 Prius rentals to its fleets beginning this week, and Hertz plans to invest $68 million to buy 3400 of the hybrids over the next year.

As reported by the Associated Press in the Baltimore Sun:

Hertz said its hybrid vehicles will be available for rent at 50 of the company’s U.S. airport locations, with 100 of them reserved for its New York City fleet.

John Barrows, a spokesman for Avis, said his company will offer Prius hybrids in its California, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Washington, D.C., markets but might expand the locations in the future based on consumer demand.

It looks like Hertz shows the most promise for getting hybrids into rental markets across the US. Still, not all carmakers are enthusiastic about providing their cars for rent. An Austin-area Honda dealer says it’s against corporate policy to sell to rental fleets, citing desire to keep resale values high for consumers.

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