Car Rental and Chauffeur-Driven Transportation Trends, Opportunities & Impacts for 2021

TCG is helping our clients prepare for the return and continuity of business travel; we could not ignore the severity that COVID-19 has impacted on the travel and transportation industry. Fortunately, as vaccines are becoming more readily available, borders gradually reopening, and travel slowly recommencing; travelers are growing more confident every day. The ground transportation (chauffeur and rental) market has provided itself the advantage of being perceived as among the safest modes of travel. Many travelers feel safer renting a car and driving themselves rather than relying on other transport.

We have been attentive and actively staying ahead of current transportation news, updates, and trends. Below, we have listed key information regarding ground transport:  

Corporate Rental Trends

There has been significant growth in one-way rentals during the pandemic. Travelers are picking up a car in one place and will drop it off in a different destination. Corporate travelers are opting for car rentals to conduct company business rather than air travel on short-haul flights.

Longer Rentals

There is an upward trend of corporate travelers using rental cars for business and leisure. Some renters who may have previously preferred to take a 300 – 400 mile flight for business, are now interested in the possible option of driving themselves. Travelers are conducting business during the week, then venturing out leisurely during the weekend, as a result, extending the ‘normal’ one-to-three-day rental cycles.

Moreover, clients are now opting-out of using Uber or Lyft and preferring individual car rentals to decrease the chance of possible exposure to COVID-19.

Chauffeur / Motor Coach Industry

Since the pandemic hit, the private motor coach industry has been decimated. The industry went from generating $15 billion in 2019 to $2.6 billion in 2020. Nearly 80 percent of the industry’s workforce had been furloughed. Only a few companies have kept their chauffeurs during this time, usually only their best with the cleanest and safest driving records.

Fortunately, Drivers that were furloughed, terminated, or working with reduced hours are slowly returning to pre pandemic operations.


Car rental service providers and operators are focusing on technological innovations to upgrade their distribution channels, enhance customer experience, and reduce in-person contact by including online check-in, self-service kiosk, and providing loyalty programs with incentives.

Nationally, the increasing demand to produce various critical materials, including materials for advance technology, has been recognized. According to President Joe Biden, “We (America) need to stop playing catch-up.” The president signed an executive order mandating a 100-day review of a wide range of supply chain areas, from semiconductors to large capacity batteries used in electric vehicles, in order to formulate policies that ramp up domestic production. The White House said the executive order will not solve the shortage in the near term, however it is intended to support a long-term plan formulation. As a result, there will be less cars available due to the lack of technology. In the meantime, car rental providers will compete for their share of fewer vehicles in the market.

Health and Safety Initiatives

EmpireCLS has reported that they were the first luxury ground transportation to provide rapid, FDA- Approved, Covid-19 testing for their chauffeurs. Ground transportation supplier, BLS, offers a similar on-demand rapid Covid-19 test (FDA Emergency Use Authorized) prior to a pickup for ultimate peace-of-mind. Other chauffeur services alike have proactively implemented Covid -19 protocols to ensure the safety of the drivers and riders.

Enterprise Holdings recently announced a new initiative with Clorox® to implement near- and long-term enhancements to its cleaning procedures. The collaboration reinforces the company’s Complete Clean Pledge to help customers feel confident as they begin to travel again. To kick off the initiative, Enterprise Holdings promised to provide a one-count Clorox Disinfecting Wipe in every vehicle rented through its brands – Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-A-Car. The distribution of the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes marks an industry-first in car rental. 

Additionally, Enterprise has elevated their health and safety measures. Each vehicle is required to be rigorously cleaned between every rental including washing, vacuuming, and a general wipe down and sanitizing with a disinfectant that meets leading health authority requirements. Furthermore, Enterprise employees are trained to thoroughly sanitize the “20 high-touch points”, these include the key or key fob, steering wheel, door handles, gear stick or gear shift, mirrors and cupholders.


Advantage Opco LLC, the parent company of Advantage Rent A Car, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company is owned by a Toronto-based private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group. The bankruptcy petition lists liabilities between $500 million to $1 billion, with estimated assets of $100 million to $500 million. Advantage affiliates such as E-Z Rent a Car LLC, were included in the bankruptcy file.

Hertz filed for bankruptcy in May 2020 with nearly $19B debt, one of the largest bankruptcies to result from the pandemic. However, they plan to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2021 and has completed all court requirements in order to do so. Hertz be provided with over $2 billion of global liquidity to satisfy $1.3 billion of corporate debt, and all debt obligations associated with Hertz’s European business. Then they will obtain a new asset-backed securitization facility that will pay all existing obligations related to Hertz’s U.S. vehicle fleet and provide funding needed to meet Hertz’s ongoing fleet requirements. 

Mergers and Expansions 

Moving forward, although the pandemic has caused financial burden on many companies, there is a bright future ahead for car/ground transportation and rentals.

Amazon has signed an agreement to acquire Zoox. Although Amazon will obtain the company, Aicha Evans (Zoox CEO) and Jesse Levinson (Zoox co-founder and CTO) will lead Zoox as a standalone business as they continue to innovate. Zoox started in 2014 with the vision of purpose-built, zero-emissions vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing, along with an end-to-end autonomy software stack. Zoox’s ground-up vehicle focuses on the ride-hailing customer, with integrated features designed to provide a revolutionary passenger experience.

SIXT, the international provider of high-end mobility services based in Germany, has appointed its franchise partner for New Zealand. Premium Mobility Services is the car rental subsidiary of the Giltrap Group. The Giltrap Group is New Zealand’s leading automotive company with over 50 years in the automotive market, providing an infrastructure that includes distribution, retail, and vehicle financing. This partnership is expected to push SIXT’s expansion within the Asia Pacific region.

Initiatives and Acquisitions

Companies are developing strategies and initiatives that are more strategic and driven by the market. The era of corporations simply integrating new practices has shifted to actively transforming the market. The sustainability movement has gained significant traction due to smaller social and environmental sub- movements. Although sustainability has been an important topic for decades, business sustainability has come a long way from the environmental movement and regulations of the 1970s. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review , since 2018, more than 90 percent of CEOs state that sustainability is important to their company’s success. Businesses are now transforming products, services, and even their brand to adapt to sustainability.

Avis Budget Group’s sustainability initiatives are to leverage innovative, sustainable mobility solutions. The company reported that vehicles may account for 15% of global greenhouse emissions and are the greatest source of air pollution in large cities. Transitioning to a low carbon economy is a significant business opportunity and they plan for a cleaner, safer, and climate restorative approach to mobility that includes smart vehicles, smart infrastructure, partnering with customers to provide low carbon services and more.

Hertz has stated they are committed to reducing their global environmental impact related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy, water, and waste. Recognizing the effect their fleet and operations has on the environment, they have contrived a robust environmental management program to ensure that sustainability is integrated across every area of the business. This includes everything from how cars are washed to constructed locations, and from senior leaders to frontline employees, every Hertz colleague is expected to apply best practices for the environment in the workplace and are encouraged to do the same outside of the workplace.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car  has developed transportation solutions, new energy and environmental initiatives in the effort to help sustain the environment. All newly constructed rental locations are intended to be both efficient and sustainable. Through their Institute for Renewable Fuels, they have committed to a fuel-efficient fleet that includes investment in alternative fuels and clean technologies. The three key areas of focus are: Exploring the fundamental science of genes and systems and how they convert to solar energy and oils. Developing new technologies to better understand the constraints of turning plants into fuels and accelerating research so that plant and algal-based oils can be produced for use on a commercial scale.

Lastly, Enterprise has committed to a 50 Million Tree Pledge. Partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation and the US Forest Service, Enterprise has pledged to plant 50 million trees in 50 years. To date, they have planted more than 9 million trees and helped to support 80 reforestation projects across 15 states and 4 countries, including UK’s Woodland Trust and Germany’s SDW association for the protection of forests and woodland.


The TCG Advantage

80% of companies that do not have a post-COVID plan completed, we can help you roll-out a contingency plan to mitigate risks and transform your travel program better than it was pre-COVID.  Now is a great opportunity to reassess your TMPE program through our patented methodology, TCO-TMPE® (Total Cost of Ownership for Travel, Meetings, Payment and Expense).

This methodology is comprised of 4 pillars; Management, Investments, Work Processes and Reporting, and 18 components.  This approach fully addresses the reality that 82% of corporate travel programs are classified as “mature” which is also characterized by stagnation, diminished returns, increasing program bypass and decreasing Net Promoter Score (NPS) metrics. Recognizing this, in conjunction with the havoc that COVID-19 has caused, we’ve been proactively reevaluating, assessing, and optimizing our TCO-TMPE® programs with new protocols.

Let us guide you to address these new requirements, introduce new opportunities unveiled in this past year and ensure that your TMPE program is as ready as you are to do business.  

Are you aware of what's happening in the car rental and chauffeur industry ?

Contact us to learn how TCG Consulting can help you assess your current transportation programs!