Operations

SOLOMBRINO Teams Up With Hertz

LCT Staff
Posted on January 13, 2010

BOSTON — The Hertz Corporation, the world's largest general use car rental brand, and Dav El Chauffeur Transportation Network, one of the largest privately owned chauffeur transportation companies in the United States, have partnered to provide Hertz customers with Dav El's chauffeured transportation services.

Through the partnership, Hertz customers now have an additional ground transportation option to fulfill their chauffeured car and short term transportation options. Services provided by Boston-based Dav El include roundtrip airport concierge services, a fleet of deluxe vehicles for group events, and the coordination of transportation for large group functions, conventions and corporate meetings. Dav El provides fully insured and certified chauffeurs who provide high quality, professional driving services to customers.

Dav El CEO and owner Scott Solombrino could not immediately be reached for comment before LCT E-News deadlines on the announcement, which was posted on CNNMoney.com and Marketwire at 4:22 p.m. EST.

On its surface, the deal appears to be more of a co-location, co-branding, and/or possible data-sharing arrangement. That would be distinctly different from the type of investment deal that Avis has with Carey International, in which the auto rental company bought a $60 million, 45% ownership stake in the global chauffeured transportation company in 2007.

The Hertz-Dav El deal nevertheless is bound to send a shudder through the chauffeured transportation industry whose leading associations have been battling the business model of Avis WeDriveU, in which rental car and chauffeur services are separated into individual companies that contract with a customer looking for a chauffeured rental car. As a result, Avis can save money by skirting the regulations and fees that apply to all legitimate limousine and chauffeured transportation operators, and thereby undercut the industry.

The Dav El/Hertz deal is not an Avis WeDriveU type of arrangement.

Solombrino, a veteran board member and past president of the National Limousine Association, had warned in a 2008 State of the Industry speech at the LCT Show in Las Vegas about the inroads of the rental car business into chauffeured transportation.

Referring to Avis’ $120 million investment in Boston-based Carey International at that time, Solombrino told the opening session of the convention: “They strategically entered our market and are not leaving. Rental car is here to stay. There are more deals coming. We must battle with mega corporations.”

Solombrino further said in his 2008 speech that rental car companies want to get into the chauffeured vehicle business because they grew by consolidation and then stagnated. Now they are looking for new markets and investments. “The rental car industry is not doing well,” Solombrino said at the time, referring to deflationary pressures on rental car pricing.

MORE DETAILS OF HERTZ/DAV EL DEAL HERE

Source: CNNMoney.com/LCT

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