Auto Focus

10 Annoying Things about Today’s Cars

I know I’m getting cantankerous in my old age, but don’t get me started about things like keyless start, backup cameras and “instant” fuel economy.

Photo courtesy of General Motor Corp.<br />The push-botton, keyless start function in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

I know I’m getting cantankerous in my old age, but don’t get me started about things like keyless start, backup cameras and “instant” fuel economy. READ MORE

Tags: ignition trigger, Air Conditioning, fuel economy gauge

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Are Record Car Rental Revenues a Reason to Celebrate?

The U.S. car rental industry’s $22.4 billion in revenues for 2011 is an industry record. Here’s a closer look at the numbers.

The U.S. car rental industry’s $22.4 billion in revenues for 2011 is an industry record. Here’s a closer look at the numbers. READ MORE

Tags: J.D. Power, Rental Revenue, Fact Book, industry statistics

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, November 30, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

What’s Hot from the L.A. Auto Show

This year’s show features a new flagship sedan for Cadillac, a premium sedan from Hyundai, a slew of compact crossovers and rumblings of a new horsepower war.

Cadillac XTS

This year’s show features a new flagship sedan for Cadillac, a premium sedan from Hyundai, a slew of compact crossovers and rumblings of a new horsepower war. READ MORE

Tags: L.A. Auto Show

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

How Did Ace Rent A Car Win the 2011 Rental Car Satisfaction Study?

In a year in which the industry increased its overall score for the second year in a row, an independent takes the prize.

In a year in which the industry increased its overall score for the second year in a row, an independent takes the prize. READ MORE

Tags: J.D. Power, Customer Service, Customer Satisfaction, ACE Rent A Car

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, November 15, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Wholesale Market Drives Q3, But Will Record Rental Revenues Last?

The three public car rental companies posted healthy third quarter results last week. While the quarter was characterized by price competition, healthy volumes and fleet rightsizing, the key driver was the used-car market. But what does the future look like?

The three public car rental companies posted healthy third quarter results last week. While the quarter was characterized by price competition, healthy volumes and fleet rightsizing, the key driver was the used-car market. But what does the future look like? READ MORE

Tags: Depreciation, Hertz, Avis Budget Group, Financial Report, Used Car Market, Avis Europe, Avis On Location, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, November 7, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

After Historic Highs, a Used Car Value Reset

We’re off those historic used car value highs, but the sky is not falling. Why? Three words: supply, supply, supply.

We’re off those historic used car value highs, but the sky is not falling. Why? Three words: supply, supply, supply. READ MORE

Tags: Fleet Replacement, Used Vehicle Sales, Used Car Market, Used Car Prices

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, November 1, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

What We Can Learn from the Global Auto Rental Marketplace

Franchise systems — and the spirit of the independent operator — are alive and well in the global marketplace, and growing.

Franchise systems — and the spirit of the independent operator — are alive and well in the global marketplace, and growing. READ MORE

Tags: Hertz, Alamo Rent A Car, Europcar, CarTrawler, Last Minute Rent a Car, Citer, Chevrolet Express

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Kicking the Tires on the Latest Alt-fuel Vehicles

Here is a collection of the latest breakthroughs, stalls and updates in the quest for alternative fuel and power — including money for fleets to buy electric vehicles and one EV on sale that seems too good to be true.

Photos by Joanne Tucker<br />The Mercedes B-Class hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

Here is a collection of the latest breakthroughs, stalls and updates in the quest for alternative fuel and power — including money for fleets to buy electric vehicles and one EV on sale that seems too good to be true. READ MORE

Tags: Ford Transit Connect Electric, Coda Automotive, Wheego, EMC, Mercedes F-Cell, Honda FCX Clarity, Fuel Cell, DC fast charger, Hydrogen Fuel, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, October 10, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(-6)

The EV Experience: Is Range Anxiety Real? (Part 2)

In the second part of this blog on electric vehicle experiences, our five Nissan Leaf drivers weigh in on driving impressions, the realities of range anxiety and the unexpected consequences of plugging in instead of gassing up.

The Leaf is surprisingly roomy and has greater interior dimensions than the 2012 Nissan Versa, including more cargo volume (14.5 cu. ft. compared with 13.8 cu. ft.).

In the second part of this blog on electric vehicle experiences, our five Nissan Leaf drivers weigh in on driving impressions, the realities of range anxiety and the unexpected consequences of plugging in instead of gassing up. READ MORE

Tags: Nissan LEAF, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The EV Experience: Nissan Leaf Drivers Speak Out (Part 1)

All-electric vehicles are finally in the real world. After 5,000 miles of driving, five Nissan Leaf users share their experiences on the ordering and buying process, charging challenges, figuring costs per mile, the driving experience and the specter of range anxiety. This is part one of a two-part blog, with photos.

The port on the right accepts the Level 1 and Level 2 plugs. This Leaf comes with the Level 3 port, a $700 option.

All-electric vehicles are finally in the real world. After 5,000 miles of driving, five Nissan Leaf users share their experiences on the ordering and buying process, charging challenges, figuring costs per mile, the driving experience and the specter of range anxiety. This is part one of a two-part blog, with photos. READ MORE

Tags: Nissan LEAF, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Digging Deeper into the Acquisition War

What made Avis decide to publicly announce dropping its bid for Dollar Thrifty?

What made Avis decide to publicly announce dropping its bid for Dollar Thrifty? READ MORE

Tags: Hertz, Avis Budget Group, Avis, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, merger

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(-6)

On Driving Safely versus Productivity

Studies show that using a phone while driving causes accidents. But can you get off your phone in the car and still be productive? READ MORE

Tags: Texting, Cell Phone Use, Distracted Driving

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:23 PM | » Comments(-2)

Hertz Lays Out Plan for 1,000 Electric Vehicles and Beyond

The electric vehicle “arms race” heats up in car rental. Auto Rental News questions Rich Broome of Hertz on the company’s EV strategy. READ MORE

Tags: Hertz, Car Sharing, Chevrolet Volt, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:44 PM | » Comments(-6)

In Defense of Rental Cars

Getting people to consider buying a used rental car requires dispelling the “beater” myth. And that ain’t easy.

Getting people to consider buying a used rental car requires dispelling the “beater” myth. And that ain’t easy. READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance, Remarketing

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, August 17, 2011 8:31 AM | » Comments(4)

Mother Nature Drives the Market in Q2

The public car rental companies adapted to supply disruptions and an unprecedented used car market while suffering through a “frustrating” merger process.

The public car rental companies adapted to supply disruptions and an unprecedented used car market while suffering through a “frustrating” merger process. READ MORE

Tags: Hertz, Avis, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Avis Budget Group, merger

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, August 10, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Are We Any Closer to a Hertz and Dollar Thrifty Merger?

Between Hertz’s purchase of a major leasing company and Avis Budget Group’s bid for Avis Europe, it’s time reassess the merger landscape.

Between Hertz’s purchase of a major leasing company and Avis Budget Group’s bid for Avis Europe, it’s time reassess the merger landscape. READ MORE

Tags: Hertz, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, merger

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Need Fleet? Get in Line

For small fleets ramping up in the recovery, replacing work vehicles out of stock will be difficult with already tight dealer inventories—except if you’re looking for pickups.

For small fleets ramping up in the recovery, replacing work vehicles out of stock will be difficult with already tight dealer inventories—except if you’re looking for pickups. READ MORE

Tags: Pickup Trucks, shortage

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, July 13, 2011 12:13 PM | » Comments(-13)

Sell Now?

The used car market is at its valuation peak – but the so-called bubble may be better characterized as an air mattress deflating. It’s all about supply.

The used car market is at its valuation peak – but the so-called bubble may be better characterized as an air mattress deflating. It’s all about supply. READ MORE

Tags: Used Car Prices, Used Car Market

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, June 22, 2011 9:00 AM | » Comments(0)

How the GAO Auto Recall Report Could Affect Auto Rental

The report released on June 15 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows just how complicated the recall process is and how difficult it is for vehicle owners to comply. This could help the fight for sensible recall legislation. READ MORE

Tags: ACRA, Recalls, Government Accountability Office, NHTSA

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, June 15, 2011 5:59 PM | » Comments(-2)

How is GM Managing Residual Values?

Leo Burns, General Motors’ residual value management guru, shares what was broken and how it’s being fixed.

Leo Burns, General Motors’ residual value management guru, shares what was broken and how it’s being fixed. READ MORE

Tags: Residual Values, General Motors

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, June 8, 2011 8:34 AM | » Comments(0)

GM Unveils New Models and New Technology

Straight from General Motors' annual fleet preview, here are notes and info on a fleet-only crossover, a Volt test drive, new LPG offerings and technology to squeeze every drop of fuel economy from an internal combustion engine. READ MORE

Tags: Chevrolet, eAssist, Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Sonic, General Motors

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, May 20, 2011 1:07 PM | » Comments(1)

The Q1 Car Rental Crystal Ball

How are high fuel prices and the Japan crisis affecting supply and demand for car rental?

How are high fuel prices and the Japan crisis affecting supply and demand for car rental? READ MORE

Tags: Hertz, Car Sharing, Avis Budget Group, Japan, Used Car Market, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Hybrids: Eco or Ego?

A thorough emissions analysis will answer the question.

A thorough emissions analysis will answer the question. READ MORE

Tags: Gasoline-Electric Hybrids, Emissions, Green, green fleet

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, May 5, 2011 2:31 PM | » Comments(0)

What Keeps Leasing Company Execs Up at Night?

At NAFA’s fleet conference last week, heads of the major leasing companies talked about rising oil prices, distracted driving, changing to leasing rules and managing the rush of technology. READ MORE

Tags: Telematics, NAFA, Fuel Prices, FASB, Distracted Driving, Alternative Fuels

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, April 21, 2011 11:15 AM | » Comments(0)

Should Car Sharing Get a Pass on Excise Taxes?

Car sharing and car rental are both part of the solution to the public’s transportation needs. The two communities are better off fighting excise taxes—as well as vicarious liability protection and recalls—together. READ MORE

Tags: vicarious liability, Zipcar, rental taxes, Recalls, Excise Taxes, Connect by Hertz

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, April 20, 2011 11:22 AM | » Comments(1)

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Chris Brown

Executive Editor

Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

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