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5Fiat 500e comes with free extra cars (well, rentals)

Bigger trips + little electric car, = no problem. That's the message Fiat is sending with a new announcement of an agreement to offer gas-powered rentals to range-anxiety-stricken road-trippers.

23Toyota kicks off year with sharply increased fleet sales

Toyota can attribute much of its uptick in sales last month to fleets. While the automaker saw its sales leap by 7.5 percent compared to a year earlier, Newsday.com reports Toyota sold 47 percent more cars and trucks to fleet customers in the U.S. than in January 2011. Without the fleet sales, the improvement would have been less than one percent. All told, rental companies accounted for 93 percent of the automaker's fleet sales in January, with the remainder going to other organizations.

19Better Place signs deal with rental company in Israel

If you want to try out one of Better Place's electric vehicles, you'd have to move to a country where the project is establishing its infrastructure or else wait for it to come to your neighborhood. At least that's how it was looking until now. Because the latest announcement from the electric-vehicle startup has us booking our tickets for Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.

3Europcar to add Opel Ampera to fleet of rental vehicles

Last March, rental agency Europcar, pre-ordered 500 electric vehicles from Renault to add to its fleets in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Now, Europcar is back at it again. This time 'round, the rental agency has announced that it will add an undisclosed amount of the "go anywhere at any time" Opel Amperas to its fleet.

22REPORT: Prepare to shell out a lot more for your next rental car

Hertz Fun Collection Chevrolet Corvette ZHZ - click above to enlarge

6Rental agencies having a hard time upgrading customers

There has been a longstanding tradition among car rental agencies to push renters up to bigger, more expensive models. Not that it was all that difficult to do, considering that Americans tend to prefer larger vehicles when all other aspects are equal. Now, though, not all of those aspects are equal, as bigger vehicles are usually thirstier vehicles and the renter is required to return the vehicle with a full tank of gas. So, the act of stepping up to a Hemi-powered Dodge Charger from a four-ban

1San Francisco helps you hire a hybrid

Have you been planning on flying into San Francisco and renting a car to get around? The folks down at city hall would prefer that your rental be a hybrid and they are willing to help you pay for it. The free money for making a more environmentally-friendly car rental choice will come in the form of a $15 rebate which ought to be enough for a latte and a croissant or three a couple of gallons of gas.

1Paris "about to launch" a cheap rental service featuring 2,000 electric cars

The Times reports, the Mayor of Paris is "about to launch" Bertrand Delanöe, a rental system that includes a whopping 2,000 electric cars. The system is based on Automobiles-en-Libre-Service, which allow subscribers to pick up a car, without booking, at dozens of sites and leave them anywhere in the city. The cost of the system is just a few euros per hour which has gained the scheme the nickname Voiturelib or free car. Two electric cars are being considered: the Blue Car project, a three-s

33GM: battery rental payments weekly, might cost the same as gas

We told you GM plans to sell you the Volt and rent the battery to keep costs down. We have a few more details on the plan from Nick Reilly, the president of General Motors Asia Pacific, at the APEC summit in Australia. Nick says the payments will be weekly and cost about the same as gas. So, the operating costs for the Volt won't be much different than a normal gas car. I wonder why they went for weekly payments? Anyway, here are the comments:

10Ford plans to cut rental sales again in 2008

Speaking with Automotive News, George Pipas, a Ford sales analyst, explained that the automaker will continue to cut its sales to rental fleets in 2008, but not to the extent that it did this year. In 2007, FoMoCo decreased the amount of vehicles offloaded to rental lots by 30-percent, or 135,000 units.

26GM: Buy the Volt, rent the battery?

To keep the price of the Volt low, GM is considering renting the battery. I guess that explains the use of the term "consumer cost" when Lutz said the Volt would cost under $30,000. I have to admit, GM is planning some innovative things. I thought the series hybrid was innovative enough. Now renting parts of cars? This might change everything.

3Do you want to try an electric car while on vacation? Go to La Rochelle (France)

I must admit I haven't been much in the north of France and I just knew La Rochelle from a song (so tacky I won't admit what it is) but an acquaintance of mine just visited the city and informed me that the city has a public rental service of electric cars.

8Imports taking up the slack in fleet sales

OK, this seems like a no-brainer. As GM and Ford have gradually pulled back from the low-margin fleet sales market, import fleet sales have surged. After all, somebody has to keep the rental car lots filled. It's mostly been the mainline Asian automakers that have stepped in to fill the void. Toyota, Nissan, Mazda and Kia have all increased their corporate sales of cars and trucks, but they still remain bit players overall. About 11 percent of U.S. import brand sales are to fleets so far this ye

54What actually sells: Fleet sales for first half of 2007

Automakers often report their sales figures in whatever way makes them look most positive, and for a long time including fleet sales has been an effective way to make a slow selling vehicle look more popular with consumers on paper. Automakers don't distinguish between fleet and retail when reporting their sales, so we've been forced to believe them recently when we've been told that fleet sales are being reduced. General Motors, Ford and the Chrysler Group have all claimed that reducing fleet s

21Chrysler, Ford topping the list of fleet sales

For the domestic automakers, 2007 was supposed to be the year that they weaned themselves off the fleet sales teat. For GM, they've been doing pretty well, limiting their offloads of 10 or more vehicles to one company to around 24-percent of total sales. Chrysler and Ford, on the other hand, are still relying on the practice, coming in at 36-percent and 34-percent respectively – the highest of any automakers.

14Love Hertz: Shelby GT-H rental stolen, man arrested

As devout members of Our Lady of Blowers and Burnouts, most of us can sympathize with someone that rents the Shelby GT-H and then has to return the 'Stang to their local Hertz office. It must be a tough pill to swallow, but at the end of the day, what's the alternative?

16Nearly half of Chrysler's products go to fleets, Pontiac isn't doing much better

What did Chrysler do with its highly publicized production glut? Unloaded them onto fleets. Between September and February, 48.5-percent of Chrysler's sales were sold in quantities of ten or more. Even more troubling to dealers and consumers, close to 80-percent were bought up by rental car companies, versus GM and Ford whose rental sales are closer to half of their total fleet sales.

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