The boss of leading car rental firm Enterprise has played down the impact of the sharing economy, describing the concept as a “play on words”.
Greg Stubberfield, executive vice-president of Enterprise, told the Expedia Global Partners Conference in Las Vegas last week: “You hear a lot about the sharing economy and how it’s going to disrupt traditional companies like ourselves.
“[But] sharing, as we look at it, involves something that does not involve a financial transaction.”
Stubberfield said: “We have been in the sharing business for 58 years. The difference is that we are a for-profit business not a sharing, non-profit business. It’s just a play on words as we see it.”
He suggested taxi-hailing app Uber would not disrupt car rental, saying: “We’ve just had our best year ever and Uber had a wonderful year.
“It’s just part of the overall transportation system – people have different ‘need states’.
Stubberfield said Enterprise itself had acted to as ‘a disruptor’ in car rental when it decided to focus on off-airport rentals.
He said a strategy of developing home-city drop-off and collection points brought Enterprise within five minutes’ reach of 95% of the US population.
Enterprise moved into airport rental sector towards the end of the 1990s with its acquisitions of Alamo Rent a Car and National Car Rental and today this represents one third of its business.
It launched a car-sharing venture, WeCar, on the Washington University campus in St Louis in 2007.
This developed into Enterprise Carshare which is available on more than 130 university campuses and through government programmes and business accounts in the US , Canada and the UK.
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