Increasing Competition Drives Rental Car Companies to Achieve Record High Satisfaction, J.D. Power Finds
Hertz Ranks Highest in Overall Customer Satisfaction
COSTA MESA, Calif.: 16 Oct. 2019 — Facing increased competition from all angles, airport-based rental car companies have doubled-down on innovation, offering more vehicle choice, personalized service and streamlined pick-up and return processes that are resonating with customers. According to the J.D. Power 2019 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study,SM customer satisfaction with airport-based rental car companies has climbed to a record high of 843 (on a 1,000-point scale), with just 31 points separating the top- and bottom-ranked rental car companies.
“Across all of our travel-related studies, rental cars have become the most satisfying part of the overall traveler experience,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power. “This is due largely to companies’ continued innovation to tweak their pick-up and return processes and deliver stand-out customer experiences. Many customers can walk the lot and pick a specific car, and the pick-up process can be completed in 15 minutes or less. Adding personalization through apps and alerts to mobile devices is a big plus, too.”
Following are some of the key findings of the 2019 study:
- Record-high rental car customer satisfaction amid tight competition: Overall rental car satisfaction is at its highest level ever, reaching 843 in 2019. Moreover, the gap in performance between the top- and bottom-ranked performers has narrowed to just 31 points (down from 51 points in 2018), with just one point separating the top two companies in the study.
- Smooth pick-up process is a key differentiator: Though competition is tight between rental car companies, one area showing significant variation in customer experience is the vehicle pick-up process. While overall satisfaction scores are 33 points higher when customers get their vehicle in 15 minutes or less, that happens just 64% of the time.
- Technology-laden vehicles present a double-edged sword: Rental car satisfaction scores are highest (902) when vehicles have 21 or more features, such as cruise control, GPS, USB ports and premium sound systems, but those scores plummet 140 points when renters indicate that vehicle features are difficult to use.
- Mobile app users more satisfied with rental experience: Overall satisfaction among customers who use a rental car brand’s mobile app is 50 points higher than among those who do not. Currently, just 40% of customers say they have a rental car mobile app downloaded on their smartphone. Rental car apps are used most frequently for making reservations (52%); getting shuttle information (40%); getting general information (39%); check-in (39%); and selecting the rental car (39%).
Hertz ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction, with a score of 856. Enterprise (855) ranks second and Alamo (848) ranks third.
The 2019 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study is based on responses gathered from September 2018 through August 2019, from 9,382 business and leisure travelers who rented a vehicle at an airport location from August 2018 through August 2019.
For more information about the North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study, visit
J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power has offices serving North America, South America, Asia Pacific and Europe.
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