Hertz Launches Dream Car Rental Service For Those Who Just Can’t Drive 55

Yesterday, Hertz, one of the largest rental car companies in the world, announced the launch of their new Dream Cars service in the U.S. This new offering allows customers to rent exotic sports cars and high-end luxury models that typically haven’t been available from the company in the past, granting travelers an opportunity to explore their destination in head-turning style.

Some of the vehicles that are available for rent include the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mercedes-Benz AMG, Porsche 911 and the SRT Viper, just to name a few. And for those who want to enjoy a luxury ride while still remaining eco-friendly, Hertz is even offering the Tesla Model S electric sedan.

The Dream Car service extends well beyond just renting an amazing luxury ride. Hertz will also send a representative to deliver the car to the customer and give them a one-on-one orientation of the vehicle as well. Customers can be met at their terminal in the airport or the car can be delivered to a location of their choice.Hertz says that Dream Cars will soon be available in 35 markets across the U.S., including such major cities as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Dallas and Chicago. As of this writing, the website lists only Florida locations such as Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach, however, so it may take some time for the service to spread out. It should also be noted that not all vehicles are available in each location, so if you’re considering renting your personal dream car, you may want to peruse the catalog ahead of time.

The website doesn’t list pricing for these high-end vehicles, but you can bet they’ll be well beyond what most of us can afford. Still, if you’re looking to splurge on your next vacation and you want to spend a few days driving around in a car that is above and beyond anything you’ve ever imagined, this is a service that can deliver that experience for you.

As for me, I’m already daydreaming about living out my James Bond fantasies with that Aston Martin Vantage.

Hertz to offer Lotus Evora in Europe

Two-door, four-door, sedan or compact not your idea of an exciting selection of rental cars? How about a $75,000 Lotus Evora? Hertz has introduced the Lotus Evora to key European rental markets, following a successful launch of the coupe in Italy in 2010.

“We are very proud to offer the Lotus Evora for exclusive hire in Europe following its rental success in Italy, thanks to our extended partnership with Group Lotus” said Michel Taride, president of Hertz International reports breakingtravelnews.com.

The move marks an extension of Hertz’s partnership with Group Lotus and is the launch car of the new Adrenaline Range in the Hertz Fun Collection of Germany, Spain and the UK, and also joins as a special car in the Fun Collection in France.
Similar to the Hertz Adrenaline Collection in the United States which includes 60’s and 70’s muscle cars Chevy Camaro SS, Ford Mustang 5.0 GT Premium and Dodge Challenger R/T, the Adrenaline Range in Europe will showcase the most exciting new vehicles in Hertz’s fleet with high quality, enhanced performance, and beautifully designed vehicles, with the Lotus Evora as the hero car.

“The hugely popular Lotus Evora is the perfect ambassador for our new Adrenaline Range, combining style, elegance, agility and sportiness to make driving journeys a dream come true.”

The Lotus Evora will be available to hire from Hertz France’s Biarritz, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Nice and Paris Charles De Gaulle airports and Paris Porte Maillot, Germany’s Frankfurt Rhein-Main and Munich airports, Italy’s Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate airports, and Spain’s Madrid and Barcelona airports.

“We are pleased to extend our agreement with Hertz; the exclusive collaboration provides the perfect opportunity to make our stunning world class sports car available to the luxury rental market,” said Group Lotus director of sales Guillaume Chabin.

Rates start from 250 euros per day, and confirmed reservations are guaranteed.

Flickr photo by exfordy

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Free Hertz #1 Club Gold membership for Delta Skymiles members

Here is a simple bonus promotion for Delta Skymiles members – follow this link, and enter Delta Skymiles as the program name, and 5765 as the promotion code – and you’ll get instant free access to the Hertz #1 Club Gold membership. Of course, if you are not (yet) a Skymiles member, nothing is stopping you from heading over to Delta.com to sign up (also free).

The program normally costs $60/year, but that fee is waived for you. Sadly, the perks are limited to instant vehicle pickup and drop-off, but when you are in a hurry at the airport, every saved minute helps.

You’ll need to provide Hertz with a credit or debit card, and your drivers license number, and after your first rental as a Gold member, you’ll be able to bypass the desk and walk right up to your car. But best of all, you’ll get a nice shiny gold card for your wallet. A list of all Hertz #1 Club benefits can be found here.

Will the Toyota recall affect your next car rental?

Toyota‘s massive recall due to faulty accelerator pedals is trickling down into car-rental companies. How does the recall affect your next rental?

I checked in with some of the major players to see how they’re handling the recall, now estimated at more than 9 million worldwide.

Avis Budget: About 20,000 cars have been grounded due to the recall. “Our fleet is 7 percent smaller today, but we are receiving weekly deliveries of new vehicles from the purchase agreements we made months ago with our suppliers,” Avis Budget spokesperson John Barrows told me via e-mail. “So we expect to be able to fulfill all demand for any rental occasion while we await guidance from Toyota regarding the handling of the recalled vehicles.”

Dollar Thrifty: The recall represents less than 1.5 percent of the overall Dollar Thrifty fleet. “We have currently grounded the vehicles and are working with Toyota on inspection of the vehicles and a proper resolution of the issue. We do not have any significant Toyotas on order,” Scott Thompson, president and CEO of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, said in a written statement.

Zipcar: Toyota’s recall affects about 5 percent of the Zipcar fleet. The car-sharing company isn’t taking new reservations on any recalled vehicles, which include the 2009 and 2010 Toyota Matrix. If you already have a reservation on a Toyota Matrix, Zipcar will move you to a different car and compensate you for any rate difference. If you’d rather bail, any cancellation fees will be waived. For questions about upcoming reservations, call Member Services at 866/494-7227.

The silver lining: Many car-rental companies, such as Avis, Budget, Dollar, and Thrifty, only let you reserve a certain vehicle class (compact/economy, mid-size, full-size). Since you weren’t able to specify a make/model to begin with, at least you won’t have to deal with re-booking because the car you wanted is suddenly unavailable.

In general, car-rental companies had already been shrinking its fleets, which was resulting in higher prices. We’ll keep an eye on how this will affect pricing now that the supply is even smaller. I’ll also update once I hear back from Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, and National.

Hertz running out of cars in NYC

When the airports shut down, short-haul fliers turn to the rental car kiosks. They’re willing to brave dangerously slick streets to get home, causing a one-way drain for the lots. The rush of bad weather that cut through New York on December 19 and 20, 2009 left parking spaces empty and led to more than a bit of frustration, as Hertz was unable to deliver on rental reservations.

According to an e-mailed statement in Bloomberg News, Richard Broome, a spokesman for the company, said, “We have been moving in cars to Manhattan as fast as possible, but we are playing catch up.” He continued, “The unusually severe storm created a temporary fleet shortage.”

When 10 inches of snow were dropped on New York City, 1,600 flights were canceled. Over the past two years, Hertz has cut its rental car fleet, and it has fallen victim to the travel slump that’s raged around the world. Both factors put pressure on the company’s ability to fulfill. This quarter, however, it began to increase its fleet by 18 percent, because of an increase in demand it had already noted.