Car rental types by rental company.

Can’t seem to google it.

I will be renting a few cars this summer. I prefer premium sedans. I can find premium sedans but I can never find out the make before I rent - ‘Or Similar’. I often target the Grad Marq or Crown Vic. But I have seen Nissan rent-a-cars on the road where I live. Can’t figure out what company is renting them though.

I would really like to drive the Nissan Altima or Maxima. I like Nissans (my last three cars have been Nissans). But it seems impossible to find out what companies might rent them.

None of the National Rent a Car companies seem to use Nissans, BUT I see rental Nissans on the road in Colorado.

Can anyone find a matrix of what car companies use what cars, probably by area, since is seems regional?

I seem to go through that Seinfeld episode about every other time I rent a car. A mid size Toyota is not ‘similar’ to a Grand Marquise in any way other than it has 4 wheels.

Since I often rent cars when I am on a vacation when I am going to do a lot of driving, I got to get the right vehicle with the right features or else things are going to suck. I understand your wanting to get the right vehicle. What I do is call the places I am considering to pick the car up from, and ask them what they got on the lot. I then pick the one that best meets my needs for that trip. I know what your are thinking, calling and talking to the people rather than reserving it online, isn’t that weird?:slight_smile:

I’m somewhat surprised you can’t find an Altima. The Altima really kind of took over the no-frills fleet sedan niche vacated by the Taurus and has since been the top-selling rental car on a semi-regular basis. If you’re getting a “full-size” car from a company that rents them, it’s probably more likely that you’d get an Altima than not.

I’m fairly sure all of the big companies do rent Nissans. Back in the not-too-distant past there used to be big differences between what brands the different rental companies rented partly because the car makers had bought some of them out and stocked them with their own products, but these days that’s not really the case. I’d agree that just calling up the office where you’re thinking about renting and asking them if they’ve got Nissans or not is the best way to find one.

Most of them have been spun off now, but many of the big rental companies were largely owned by auto manufacturers. They were a way to use up excess production. Often, cars that were over-produced (didn’t sell well) made up a big part of the rental car inventory.

Hertz was owned by Ford, and so featured Ford cars.
Avis/Budget was independent, but still tended to feature GM cars.
National/Alamo/Enterprise/Tilden was partially owned by GM, and so featured GM brands.

FWIW, I’m driving a Hertz Nissan Altima right now, rented in NYC.

… and Chrysler owned Budget. But now they all rent whatever they can get in bulk, cheaply.

Rental fleets were also a way to dump cars with the smallest engines, made to get Corporate Average Fuel Economy up, but which few car-buyers would actually want. The rental firms got them in bulk, cheaply, so it worked for both parties. Also, few renters could do serious damage to underpowered cars, or would be tempted to. To compensate for being crap, and to get eventual resale value up, they’d all get loaded with options, though.

I got a Nissan Maxima (still smelling new) from Payless in Bradenton, FL. Nice deal too. The special was a premium car for less than the compacts. A little more gas hungry but a nice ride. Go to the smaller rental places (and go off airport). We saved $300 on a ten day rental (why yes, they were gouging at the airport) with a $20 taxi ride to Payless. Second calling up the rental place directly rather than online only. In some areas, car dealers have a local rental business at a significant savings.

$300 was not a typo. Check the Sarasota airport rental rates over New Years for a premium (heck, even a compact) then check the specials at Payless. I still have the quotes and my actual payment invoice.

Enterprise recently bought National, Vanguard and Alamo rental companies and (so I was told) they now have a huge inventory of cars.

They put me in a 2011 Ford Fusion while I wait for my car to be repaired from an accident. It is an extremely nice rental car. 240hp V6, black stitched leather seating and wheel, dual climate zones, heated seats, 17 inch alloy wheels, sirius radio, SYNC system…I’d look at one of those if you’re also looking at an Altima. I’m sure they are comparable.

For the next rental, I’ll be traveling with my 81 year old mother. Can’t really travel fast and loose. Sort of need a plan. IOW, I don’t want to be making phone calls from the airport finding out if someone has a particular car that day. I want this to be as streamlined as possible and have everything in place once we arrive.

Thanks for the tip though. I think I’ll just go with a ‘Full Size’ at Alamo (this will be San Diego) and see what I get. They say it’ll be an Impala. I only saw the Nissan Altima listed once At Enterprise (Impala, Altima or Charger). Since I don’t want to get stuck with a Charger, I’m just going to go with Alamo which has the best deal for me.

Thanks all.

… Huh, Ford Fusion. I will look at that

If you’re a member of the company’s clubs, have them add a note to your profile, and you’ll almost always get the make of car that you want. I had to do this when travelling home on company business once. Here in Detroit (of all places!) they gave me a Hyundai! I later called and asked them to note in my profile that my preferences are (a) my company’s products first, and (b) American products next. Since then, I’ve never gotten anything other than my company’s products.

I’ve rented a car nearly every week for the last 15 years. I have found that the rental agencies rotate their inventory frequently. I will be renting at the same location every week for a year project, and one week they will have all Malibus, three weeks later they have all Altimas, etc.

So, my recommendation is to call and ask for exactly what you want. And if you really want a specific care, don’t get caught up in the category and cost, because they are notorious for calling a Ford Fiesta a Full-Size. :smiley:

And then be prepared to argue with them when you get there and they don’t have what you asked for.

The Ford Fusion is based on the same platform as the Mazda 6. I’ve driven both - they handle similarly.