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Hertz introduces new "24/7" global rental availability

The Hertz Corporation is introducing a new kind of universal vehicle availability called Hertz 24/7 that it claims will be “a game changer” for the rental industry — and could be a threat to the fledgling car-sharing companies that are becoming popular up in some cities.

“For the first time, customers will be able to rent a wide variety of vehicles near their home or work when needed, and for any length of time — hourly, daily, weekly or monthly,” Hertz said.

The concept relies on the deployment of self-service technology. It will involve “technology-enhanced vehicles” that will be available for rental any time of the day or night, any day of the week — “not just weekdays nine to five when a neighborhood rental location is open,” the company said.

Hertz 24/7 is already available at 1,800 airport and neighborhood rental locations in the U.S., Europe and Australia, and will be in another 2,000 locations by the end of 2013, the company said. By the end of 2016, Hertz said it will have “’self-serve’ vehicles within minutes of the majority of the United States population,” with a total fleet of 5,000 vehicles — “more than ten times the size of the current car-sharing industry combined.”

Hertz 24/7 will be a membership program with an emphasis on speed and simplicity in picking up a car — a process the company calls “Click. Swipe. Go.” Members can click on or from a mobile device or laptop and quickly reserve a car that is “only minutes away,” Hertz said. Then they swipe their 24/7 key fob against a reader on the car’s windshield to unlock it, and drive off after picking up the keys that are tethered to the dashboard.

The company said that the self-service option will not require a membership fee; it will allow customers to talk directly to a Hertz rep from the car if necessary; and it will permit one-way rentals, with pickup and drop-off in separate locations.

“Hertz 24/7 is revolutionary because it combines the technology and on-demand service associated with car sharing with the operational and logistical capabilities of a global car rental company to create a new universal car rental service,” said Hertz CEO Mark Frissora. “In fact, the goal is to bring this user-friendly, round-the-clock service to all consumers. Additionally, Hertz 24/7 demonstrates our commitment to sustainable mobility solutions by making situational vehicle rental a viable option for all consumers.”

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