The Hertz Corporation

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The Hertz Corporation (also known as Hertz Rent A Car or simply Hertz) is the world's largest car rental company, with 1900 locations in the United States and 5100 worldwide.

The company was begun by Walter L. Jacobs in 1918, who started a car rental operation in Chicago with a dozen Model Ts. In 1923, Jacobs sold it to John Hertz, president of Yellow Cab and Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company, who renamed it the "Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System". The company has passed through a number of hands, including General Motors, RCA, and United Airlines, and is now wholly owned by Ford Motor Company. Consequently, the rental fleets of most Hertz locations consist of Ford and Ford brands such as Mazda, Mercury and Lincoln. It is not uncommon however, to find Hertz rental cars from non-Ford companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and General Motors.

More recently, Hertz was traded on the NYSE under the symbol HRZ until the purchase of outstanding stock by Ford. Competitors of Hertz include Avis Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent A Car, and Alamo Rent A Car. On June 13, 2005, Ford issued a notice that Hertz would be spun off in an initial public offering.


Hertz Neverlost

In the late 90s, the company pioneered in-car satellite based GPS navigation in a portion of it's rental fleet with the introduction of Hertz Neverlost. The system features a colour LCD display, voice prompting in several selectable languages, street address lookup, turn-by-turn guidance, and a destination guide based on AAA Tourbooks. Geographic information for the entire United States, and the majority of Canada is stored in the Neverlost control unit which is typically mounted under the hatshelf in the trunk area.

Since being introduced, the Neverlost system has undergone one major hardware revision, and several iterative software revisions. The Neverlost System was later repackaged and commercialized in a portable consumer unit called the Magellan Roadmate GPS Navigation System by Thales Group. The fact that it is based on the Hertz Neverlost system is frequently touted in the Roadmate marketing literature.

Prestige Collection

In the early 2000s, Hertz debuted the "Prestige Collection" at many rental locations. This collection features cars from Ford's Premier Automotive Group, including specific reservable models from Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar. Possibly due to market pressures, certain models from Mercedes Benz and Audi are also being offered in highly competitive rental locations such as LAX.


O.J. Simpson appeared prominently in ads for the company until shortly after the murder of his ex-wife. In one ad, he leapt over counters running through an airport terminal.

A large billboard advertising Hertz was on the roof of the Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The billboard has long since been removed.

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