News Column

Renters Rate Hertz as Best

May 15, 2012

Gary Stoller

Hertz is best, Zagat reveals.
Hertz is best, Zagat reveals.

Hertz ranks as the top auto rental company, a new consumer survey released today by Zagat reveals.

Hertz is No.1 based on three categories, vehicles, reliability and service, says Zagat, the food and travel guidebook publisher, which is releasing its first auto rental company survey since 1997.

National Car Rental, a brand owned by Enterprise Holdings, ranks No.2, followed by Avis and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

The rankings of 10 car rental brands come from surveys early this year of 786 people who rented 8,960 vehicles last year. Each renter averaged about 11 rentals annually, including seven for business reasons.

Hertz also rates as the most popular rental company and finishes first in 10 of 13 other categories based on renters' answers to supplemental questions.

The renters say Hertz is the best for business travel, leisure travel, counter staff, kiosk experience, loyalty program, "green" options, airport rentals, car return experience, shuttle service and website.

"Hertz is No.1 by virtually all standards that we survey and, at the same time, is considered a solid value," says Zagat co-founder Tim Zagat.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranks No.1 for neighborhood rentals, best deals and promotions, and car pick-up experience.

National has the "best bang for the buck," followed by Enterprise, Hertz and Avis, Zagat's survey says.

Tim Zagat says he is surprised "that Avis, the long self-proclaimed No.2 in the industry, has been passed by National, if only by a hair" in the overall rankings. National ranks second in best kiosk experience and ties for second with Avis for the best brand for business travelers.

The Zagat survey results follow another consumer survey of auto rental companies released in November by J.D. Power and Associates.

In the November survey, based on 12,567 rental evaluations, relatively unknown ACE Rent A Car, which wasn't rated in the Zagat survey, ranked highest in satisfaction among airport customers.

The J.D. Power and Associates survey, which polled consumers who rented vehicles at airports in North America during the first nine months last year, looked at six factors to measure customer satisfaction: costs and fees, pick-up process, rental car, return process, reservations process and shuttle bus or van service.

Enterprise ranked No.2 in overall customer satisfaction, followed by National and Hertz. Avis ranked eighth.

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012

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