Rental "Test Drive" Experience Highly Influences New Car Purchases

Car rental customers try before they buy, according to a new study commissioned by Enterprise Holdings. The study, conducted by Polk, found customers who rent a car from Enterprise Holdings’ brands – Enterprise Rent-​A-​Car, Alamo Rent A Carand National Car Rental – are 55% more likely than the average consumer to purchase a new vehicle within six months of their rental. Polk analysis revealed that 1.2 million new cars (out of 11.4 million retail sales) were purchased by consumers within 180 days of renting from an Enterprise Holdings brand. Therefore, Enterprise, National and Alamo customers purchased 1 out of 10 new vehicles that were sold in 2012. Car dealer

Polk's analysis found the highest purchase rates are among Enterprise Rent-​A-​Car replacement renters ? customers who rent from neighborhood locations because their cars are in for body work or mechanical repairs. These replacement renters are twice as likely as the average consumer to purchase a new car within six months of their rental. But customers who rented from Enterprise, Alamo and National at the airport are also more likely to buy. Leading the way are National's airport customers, who are 45% more likely to purchase a new vehicle than the average American.

"This research confirms that, for many consumers, renting a car is truly an extended test drive," said Mark Pauzé, senior product marketing manager, Polk. "The rental experiences provided by Enterprise, Alamo and National are highly influential in the purchasing decisions of potential car buyers. And these test drives don't just influence how soon people buy, they often steer them toward a different vehicle than what’s already in their garage."

The study covered 23 million individual renters over a 12-​month period. The study strongly indicates that many car rental customers are using their rentals to experiment with new makes and models. For example, of the Enterprise brands' customers who purchased a vehicle they rented, 77%, on average, bought a different make and model than what they already owned.

"This analysis bears out what we have known for some time – car rental is an effective way for consumers to experience a vehicle before making a big purchase decision," said Kurt Kohler, senior vice president, fleet, Enterprise Holdings. "Nowadays our customers experience rental vehicles ? many of which are newly redesigned by the manufacturer ? with higher trim levels and more enhanced technology, giving our customers a very positive test drive."

To learn more about new car buyers, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad​-ology​.com.

[Source:  Study conducted by Polk on behalf of Enterprise Holdings.  26 Jun. 2013.  Web.  24 Jul. 2013.]