There are many ways used vehicles make their way to dealerships, but perhaps one of the more unique tracks is through car rental companies. Many rental companies partner with dealerships for mutual benefit, selling them the models they’re ready to turn over. Though these partnerships are not new, like all areas of the industry, it is continuously evolving to meet the changing market, as well as new technologies.
Why They Make Good Deals
There are many reasons why a dealership would want to partner with a rental company to sell their used cars. The two most compelling for shoppers are often cost and care.
Rental cars, because of heavy use and low resale value, price significantly lower than other used cars. At the same time, rental companies care for cars a lot better than the average car owner. Rental vehicles are routinely serviced and professionally maintained.
They also represent a significant portion of the used car market. Rental companies by large swaths of models from manufacturers yearly, so it makes sense that that translates into large used sales. On average, rentals are retired between four and twenty-two months. For some companies, this means they’re releasing roughly 1 million cars into the used market. These cars need a place to go, and over time, rental companies like Hertz, Avis, and Dollar Thrifty have become creative in how to move them.
Another point to consider when considering remarketing rentals is that today’s rentals are often premium cars, straight from the factory. They have all the frills and gadgetry customers have come to expect from new vehicles, at the price of a severely marked-down used one.
How Rental Sales are Changing
One way rentals get remarketed is through traditional pavement-pounding methods. Rental companies send out reps who sell cars to dealerships. This method, while effective, is quickly being supplanted, however.
Technology is the driving force behind the change. Enterprise and the other large rental companies have created their own selling platforms. These allow them to have a further, more impactful reach. Dealers can now see pictures and review car stats more efficiently, translating into higher sales at quicker turnover rates.
Virtual selling platforms also let rental companies better collect and track data about sales, further streamlining the process. Currently, rental companies have remarketing teams which gather information about their dealership partners and their needs and work to convert that information into targeted inventory for their partners. Data collection through algorithms is already changing that practice.
Going forward, dealers can expect rental companies to continue investing in technology that acts as a middleman. This year Avis unveiled its Avis Direct platform that sells to dealers directly through their own platform. This kind of creative thinking will likely continue as rental companies and dealerships continue to test and harness technology to inform and refine sales.