Singapore Car Rental


The History Of Car Rental

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Car rental is an integral part of many people 's travel plans and is used all around the world to travel from A to B. whether travelling on business, journeying with the family or simply on holiday wanting to explore, car rental services are extremely helpful. But where did these services arise from? Who was the first to realise the niche in the market supplied by rental services? The history of the industry is naturally closely entwined with the development of the motorcar and automobile industry.

While the exact origins of the first renting company are lost in the mists of the past, many hold the belief that the first rental company was started by a man named Joe Saunders. His rather small operation started with the Model T Ford, a car that brought automobile transport to the masses. It is believed that Saunders would rent his cars to customers and would charge ten cents a mile for their use. Charges were calculated with the aid of a mileage tracking device. A rather appealing story is that the first renter was a travelling salesman who used Saunders' car to impress a local girl he was taking out for dinner. Whether any truth is in this story is unknown, but it does add an attractive human element to the history of the rental car.

Saunders experienced large levels of success for his company, perhaps becoming the first rental magnate. By 1925 Saunders had depots in twenty one states across America. The success was short lived however, the Great Depression, a complete collapse of the economy in the United States, led to Saunders' operation struggling to find business. Eventually, rather sadly Saunders went bankrupt shortly after.

Saunders however was not the only entrepreneur with the foresight to spot an opportunity in the market. Another American, Walter Jacobs also started a car rental firm renting Model T cars to customers. Jacobs also experienced success although he sold his business to the larger Yellow Cab Company, owned by John Hertz. In turn Hertz was bought out by the automobile giant General Motors, the investment provided by GM ensured the survival of Hertz 's company. Today Hertz is still in existence and the largest car hire company in the world, it distinctive yellow signage recognisable in countries around the globe.

After the Second World War the industry as a whole experienced a boom time. This was due to the close relationship between the growth in air travel and rental companies. Airlines were increasingly being used for business purposes and hence hire cars were widely being used by these businessmen once they had disembarked from the plane. Hertz were well ahead of the game at this stage, having the foresight to place a rental desk and depot in Chicago 's Midway Airport in 1932. Hertz was not the only one however, Warren Avis, another entrepreneur almost entirely based his operations within airports anticipating the growth of air travel; mainly due to Avis' experience as an army pilot during the war years. Today Avis is another giant of the rental industry, owning other major industry players such as Budget.

From this time car rental services have continued to improve, outlets are now present in every major airport in the world, even in minor airports a car hire desk is never far away. Additionally the majority of settlements will also have rental facilities, servicing the needs of travellers for all manner of reasons. From humble beginnings allowing men to take girls out for the evening to a major industry in the global economy the history of car hire is fascinating.

About the Author
Industry expert Thomas Pretty looks at the history of the car rental business and its development since that time.