SOURCE: Rothman Research

Rothman Research

April 14, 2010 08:50 ET

A Sneak Peek in the Car Rental Industry

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) - - Recession has been particularly a bad phase for the car rental industry which has seen its core markets take a dive pushing many players in this space to take cost-cutting initiatives. Air travel and tourism saw huge declines throughout 2008 and 2009 and a timid rise in the first quarter of 2010 as people are still on the caution path with economic recovery moving in slow motion. But optimism is starting to grip the street as spring kicks in and summer holidays are in the corner. Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTZ) which recently presented a dire financial picture in its last quarter with marginal guidance, is not giving up on its shareholders as it receives an analyst's upgrade last week from 'neutral' to 'buy.' The analyst cited improving dynamics.

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The car rental industry has seen a very potholed start in 2010 with two of its major players down by 20% or more in the first quarter, however, things seem to be improving as we are seeing a recuperation in the industry with most car rental players in the green and some companies with news of expansion like Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. (NYSE: DTG). The company very recently announced that it is expanding its franchise activity on both domestic and international levels. "For an industry that was begging for some investor attention a month back, the turning point is quite amazing, share prices are on the rise and that's just spring kicking in," commented Mathew Collier of

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In recent years, one of the factors that have kept car rentals in consumer good books is their positive response to shift to more fuel efficient cars. Hertz is believed to be the precursor to this industry trend. And as more and more emphasis is being put on the environment, the industry as a whole must be rejoicing that they were wise enough to have prepared this shift prior to the recession.

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