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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva, Greg Wind, Glenn Rossman

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Survey Finds Rental Cars are Auto Tech Testing Ground

Enterprise Holdings Survey Data Reveals Tech Packages Beat Performance Packages with New Car Buyers

ST. LOUIS, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Enterprise Holdings survey* of its customers found that more than half (56 percent) report they first experience new automotive technology through car rental. Further, when purchasing a car, about half (49 percent) have added features or technology to their "wish list" after first trying them out in a rental car.

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Through its unique rental network and portfolio of three major car rental brands – Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car – Enterprise Holdings processes approximately 1 million car rental transactions every week – the equivalent of nearly 1 million weekly test drives.

"As drivers, we often don't know we need something until we've tried it out for ourselves – then we can't do without it," Kurt Kohler, senior vice president, vehicle acquisition and remarketing, Enterprise Holdings. "Our automotive manufacturing partners have regularly viewed our fleet as a testing ground for new automotive technologies, and this survey reveals that this experience does impact drivers' future purchase decisions."

According to the survey, unfamiliar technology does not faze today's drivers. Most renters (60 percent) are very comfortable driving a car with unfamiliar technology. It's also worth noting that business renters are four times more likely to rent the EV.

Survey respondents rated safety-related technologies as the most important when it comes to having a satisfying driving experience, especially those that help avoid collisions.

The survey also revealed a shift from brawn to brains. When buying a new vehicle, renters are more likely to choose a technology upgrade package over a luxury or sport/performance package.  

Gender differences related to car tech preferences were also uncovered:

Women

  • 54 percent of women under age 45 reported that they added features or technology to their "wish list" because they were able to try them out when renting a car.
  • Where fuel-saving technologies are concerned, fuel efficiency is significantly more important to women than it is to men (54 percent vs. 39 percent).
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to prefer a more dynamic navigation system (56 percent vs. 45 percent) and technology that enables them to identify the lowest-price gas stations (58 percent vs. 36 percent).
  • Women are significantly more likely to say heated/cooled seats, GPS navigation and a sunroof are must haves.
  • On the low-tech front, 47 percent of women say that lack of a place to put a purse/laptop bag is a pet peeve.

Men

  • Men are more likely than women to say they are very comfortable with driving a car with unfamiliar technology (64 percent vs. 56 percent).
  • Men are more likely than women to say Bluetooth is a must have (56 percent vs. 43 percent).
  • Men, relative to women, are more interested in satellite radio (17 percent vs. 11 percent) and a backup camera (7 percent vs. 2 percent).

*Survey Methodology

Enterprise Holdings deployed three Web-based surveys in Q3 and Q4 2013, each crafted to address various driver and car rental related topics. The data was gathered from randomly chosen members of Enterprise's customer rental database and included customers of its Alamo, National and Enterprise Rent-A-Car brands. A total of 1,363 surveys were completed.

Participants were screened for three key attributes: must have rented a car at least one time in the last six months; must currently own a car; and must be at least 25 years old.

About Enterprise Holdings

Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management together offer a total transportation solution. Combined, these businesses – which include extensive car rental and car-sharing services, commercial truck rental, corporate fleet management and retail car sales –accounted for $16.4 billion in revenue, employed 78,000 and operated 1.4 million vehicles throughout the world in fiscal year 2013. Operating through its regional subsidiaries, Enterprise Holdings is the largest car rental company in the world as measured by revenue, fleet, and employees. 

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SOURCE Enterprise Holdings

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