Over the years, when automakers had trouble selling enough vehicles to keep assembly lines cranking, they sold the leftovers to rental car companies. Unfortunately, when the world is embroiled in a nasty economic recession, people don't travel. And when nobody's traveling, the rental car industry takes a dive into the crapper. Hertz, the second largest rental car company in the States, is feeling the pinch along with 12% of its workers. Hertz will cut 4,000 employees in the first quarter, saving the company up to $170 million in 2009. The move to eliminate staff comes after a third-quarter profit of only $17.7 million; 89% lower than in 2007. Hertz will take a one-time charge of up to $25 million in the fourth quarter to pay for the layoffs, which means the balance sheet for the last three months of 2008 aren't going to be pretty.

[Source: Bloomberg]