In the spotlight: Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, Industry Profiles

In the spotlight: Enterprise-Rent-A-Car

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Rental companies need to suggest more than «a car and a rate» to attract business customers in the current climate, according to Mike Nigro, managing director for UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

«Companies are looking for more out of a supplier,» he says.

«They are looking for business playmates, people who bring value. Part of our strategy is to go to a corporate account and analyse their business and come forward with a menu of different items.»

Enterprise`s strategy is to target the business sector rather than retail; corporate rental accounts for 70-80% of its total, a far higher proportion than the other major car hire firms.

Consequently, it`s products are geared towards the needs of fleets. The menu includes an hourly car rental programme (WeCar), standard short-term hire (daily, weekly, monthly), a Month-or-More product and long-term rental of twelve months or more (Flex-E-Rent).

Companies can opt to take «a bit of each» according to Nigro. They might have a few long-term cars and a duo of hourly rentals, for example. «It`s about putting forward an efficient package,» he explains.

This treatment is successful – the business grew by 20% during Enterprise`s last financial year (ending July 2011) and it is forecasting a further 9% growth by July this year. Nigro expects corporate growth to be higher.

Analysing the grey fleet

Enterprise`s consultative treatment includes the grey fleet and it offers a implement to help companies analyse the CO2 savings they could make by switching from the grey fleet to alternatives such as WeCar.

But it recognises that rental isn`t the ideal solution every time.

«There are times when it makes more sense to lease cars than to rent them,» Rob Ingram, director of business rental at Enterprise, says.

«We`d be naïve to think we can woo people to just rent cars all the time.»

Discussing the grey fleet, particularly with public sector organisations, has proved interesting, he says.

«They realise they need to make switches in their grey fleet,» he says.

«It`s dangerous for any organisation to have that sort of expenditure out there.»

Nigro agrees: «They seem very motivated with some of the budget cuts.»

Woking Borough Council is one public sector customer to opt for rental as an alternative to the grey fleet in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

It used the Energy Saving Trust`s fleet health check and Enterprise`s Grey Fleet Device Kit to analyse the frequency, length and types of journeys made by individuals and the amount of carbon emitted by their vehicles.

The council found that more than 30,000 miles were travelled every year by employees using their own cars on a ‘casual users` basis, costing it £17,778 in mileage reimbursements.

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