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Hertz Car Rentals- celebrating their 95th Birthday!

January 1st, 2013 • by Sandy Zimmerman

Hertz Car Rentals is celebrating their 95th Birthday!

By Sandy Zimmerman

(Classic Photos by Hertz Rental Cars)

The story began back in 1918 when 22 year old Walter L. Jacobs opened a car rental company with 12 Model T Fords in Chicago. He repaired and repainted the cars himself.     

By 1922 Walter’s yearly revenue totaled $1,000,000 which was considered big money then, maybe not now. His car rental company was sold to John Hertz who was the president of Yellow Cab and Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company.   

Paula Rivera, Hertz Manager of Public Affairs, reminisced, “At that time, owning a car wasn’t a main-stream American thing. If people wanted to get around besides using a bike, bus or train, the only other option was to rent a car. I believe he only charged .10 cents an hour.”  (Continued)


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Hertz Car Rentals- Celebrating their 95th Birthday!


As the Hertz Car Rentals grew, they always thought about their customers. Paula explained, "In San Francisco, the managers noticed that customers came in every week usually asking for directions to the same 2-3 places. As a courteousy, instead of writing directions for each person, they made copies of these directions and kept them in a binder at the counter so they could find whatever they needed. In 1985, Hertz designed the first computerized driving directions as a precursor to the GPS-system."

Paula discussed more of Hertz's avant garde ideas. "In 1995, we were the first car rental company to offer "Never Lost", turn-by-turn, in-car GPS. In 1996, Hertz later expanded the fleet across the United States and now have 85,000 GPS units.   

The experience is customized for the car rental customer with "on line planning". By using, just put in the route, for example, from LAX to the hotel, then to a business meeting or dinner. When you get into a Never Lost car, the itinerary is entered and saved in the car. This is a time saver.    

Drivers can add the Satellite Radio. We had many compliments from appreciative travelers. With 65 channels you can listen to talk shows, music, the weather and always find something you like across the United States.

It's a very exciting time in car rentals we are really tapping into a lot of technology making not only the car but the whole rental experience user-friendly.

Hertz is expanding their products offering with Car-firmation, sending a text message or  e-mail when the customer's car is ready. It stated all of the details- A Red Toyota Corolla is ready in slot #14. Customers receive this message as the plane is taxing on the runway or even while waiting for their luggage.

Along with the pick-up message there would also be a question offering a chance to upgrade to a different car or keep the one they have.

The Hertz Collections include the Green Fuel Efficient Toyota Prius Hybrid and Electric Cars. The Hertz Fun Collection features convertibles, coupes/roadsters and SUV's. Their Prestige Collection offers the Porsche Panamera, Jaguar and other luxury vehicles. 

Sandy Zimmerman is a syndicated Show, Dining and Spa Reviewer, travel writer, photo-journalist, and talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show and Discover the Ultimate Vacation.