SOURCE: Enterprise Holdings
ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - Jun 26, 2012) - When Andrew C. Taylor, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the world's largest car rental company, Enterprise Holdings, addressed the Corporate Eco Forum Annual Meeting in New York today, his message was clear: When it comes to the future viability of the passenger vehicle and its ability to meet the public's local mobility needs, consumers and the marketplace will determine success or failure.
Enterprise Holdings -- through its regional subsidiaries -- owns and operates the Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental brands as well as its flagship Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand in North America. As an example of the challenges that new alternative fuel and power sources face, Taylor pointed to his company's attempt several years ago at advancing E85 fuel adoption by shifting nearly 30 percent of its fleet to E85-capable vehicles.
"Unfortunately, the program saw little response from customers and ultimately failed," he said, in part because of the limited number of E85 fueling stations. "For us, this pointed out the fact that if an alternative product is brought to market without sufficient consumer interest or incentive to support it, it will fail under its own weight."
In his keynote speech at the Forum's fifth annual meeting in New York, Taylor recounted his company's experience to reinforce the current challenges facing public acceptance of electric vehicles, as well as the need to ensure that the charging infrastructure and vehicle features meet consumers' transportation needs. "There is no single solution, no silver bullet and no individual provider that meets all the mobility challenges facing our world today. It will take time, patience and a lot of trial and error," he said.
At the same time, he expressed Enterprise's commitment to help meet those challenges. "Our company's age-old principle of supporting local neighborhoods and communities where we work has now evolved into a much larger and more global responsibility -- to play a role in helping find the right solutions to the world's growing concerns around transportation," Taylor said. "Enterprise is in a unique position to help identify and deliver the best mobility solutions for future generations."
The company's worldwide network includes more than 7,700 neighborhood and airport locations, with 6,000 branch offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, more than twice as many locations as its nearest competitor. The company owns and operates the world's largest fleet of passenger vehicles.
As a result, Taylor observed, "We have the capacity to provide the perfect channel for introducing, testing and socializing new vehicles and other transportation innovations. In performing this role, we help ensure that the best solutions will prove themselves in a free market setting... because ultimately, the marketplace will determine the best solutions by responding positively to the options that best meet consumer needs in terms of performance, logistics and economics."
He noted that one of the local mobility solutions Enterprise is soon bringing to the market is its Driving Futures Network -- car rental branches that will offer customers an expanded fleet of electric vehicles and hybrids in more than 30 markets across the country. The company already offers rental car customers the industry's largest selection of hybrid and electric vehicles -- including the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicle -- for daily and weekly rentals at select branches nationwide.
"By providing and promoting these alternatives, the Enterprise Driving Futures Network will help consumers better understand and accept them," Taylor said. "We see it as a very effective way of socializing sustainable mobility options like electric vehicles."
Taylor, who was named in 2011 by Automotive News magazine as one of its "Electrifying 100" key players driving vehicle electrification, pointed to examples of his company's collaborative approach, which includes partnerships with the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, the Electrification Coalition, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Department of Energy's "Clean Cities" National Clean Fleets Partnership -- to broaden the discussion about transportation issues and help communities across the U.S. identify and implement sustainable programs and policies.
Taylor also noted in his remarks that hourly car-sharing has a role to play in the urban mobility equation, and that, "at Enterprise, we already have the scale and structure to implement car-sharing in virtually every urban market." He cited this as one more way his company is committed to offer customers alternatives that both meet their needs and make good business sense.
"Today, the mobility issues facing our world are much more complex than ever before... and every stakeholder in the transportation industry has a role to play in solving them," Taylor told his audience. "It will take continued investment, continued cooperation and sharing of ideas."
As part of its efforts, Enterprise Holdings also is investing heavily in alternative vehicle and fuel technology through its support of renewable fuels research. Since 2006, Enterprise's owners, the Taylor family, have given $35 million to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and its Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels. At the Institute, scientists are researching and developing new and sustainable methods of creating next-generation biofuels from nonfood crops such as camelina, switchgrass and algae that someday could be used to power cars, trucks and aircraft, reducing both environmental impact and the nation's dependence on foreign fuel sources.
About Enterprise Holdings
With annual revenues of $14.1 billion and more than 70,000 employees, Enterprise Holdings owns and operates more than 1.2 million cars and trucks, making it the largest car rental company in the world measured by revenue, employees and fleet.
For more information about St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings, visit www.enterpriseholdings.com. For more information about Enterprise Holdings' Corporate Sustainability Report or the company's environmental stewardship and long-term commitment to the sustainability of its business, visit www.DrivingFutures.com and follow @LeeBroughton on Twitter. This news release and other announcements are available at the Enterprise Holdings press room.