Hertz Rent a Car's fascinating African history is as exhilarating as the international company has always proved itself to be, taking the company from World War Is Battle of Delville Wood and being the first car rental company in South Africa, through to chauffeur-driven safaris from Cape to Cairo, successful operations in harbours and railway stations and some ultra-dynamic company chiefs.
It began in 1919 when two survivors from the Battle of Delville Wood started South Africas first car rental company called Delville Wood Motors Car Hire. In the early 1930's a young Scotsman named Bob Murray bought the company and changed the name to African Car Hire. He had an excellent eye for opportunities and launched the first chauffeur-driven tours from the Cape to Cairo.
Hertz entered this exciting business in the late 1950's when Murray was granted the Hertz franchise for South Africa. Another decade passed and Hertzs first car rental rival emerged in 1967 with a young entrepreneurs entry on the scene. The entrepreneur in question was Noel de Villiers who started Zeda Car Rental, later to became Avis Rent a Car, which focused on airport locations for its main revenue. In 1980 he bought the company, together with Sage Holdings.
In 1986, political pressure came to bear and Hertz USA supported the Sullivan Code request for American branded companies to disinvest from South Africa. But better days were ahead. The emergence of the new South Africa in 1994 heralded Hertzs return, which took place in January 1997.
Alisa Car Rental, owned by Simon Schiff, had purchased the franchise from Hertz International and immediately formed a strong partnership with black-owned consortium New Africa Investments Limited (NAIL) which bought a 60% shareholding in the company. NAILs ethos of employment equity and social development is constantly reflected throughout the Hertz organisation.
Hertz has steadily carved a new path on the South African car rental landscape. It has a bold presence at the countrys nine major SA airports and holds a significant share of the Namibian car rental market as well. It is the fourth largest car rental company in South Africa and is focussed on increasing its market share.
In March 2001, Unitrans acquired the 40% Alisa Holdings share and company management control. This move has allowed Hertz to grow, expand into new areas, and maintain and manage its fleet effectively.
In 2006 Unitrans bought 100% of NAILs investment in Hertz, a move which has given the car rental company immeasurable credibility and a reliable support structure.
In 2007, with a developed and reliable network infrastructure in place, then CEO Gareth Tindall stepped up to take the staff at Hertz to a previously undiscovered level of customer service and job satisfaction with the introduction of the Hertz Indlela campaign. Key areas targeted by Indlela include customer feedback and compliments, showing consistent commitment to a Personal Action Plan, demonstrating commitment and enthusiasm, participating in projects and events, peer nominations and going the extra mile. Since introducing Indlela throughout Hertz in South Africa, the companys people have proved to be highly enthusiastic about the new initiative. In the words of one of the Hertz people, We bring you the consistency of an international brand delivered with a true South Africa flavour; the best combination of passion and efficiency. Love our service, love our people, love Hertz!
Tindall handed over the reins to Pat O Brien in March 2008 who was joined by Mark Wood as General Manager Sales and Operations for Hertz Southern Africa. Together, they share over 55 years of experience in the car rental business. With a keen interest in the corporate market, both Pat and Mark are perfectly suited to grow the Hertz business in the coming years. For more information visit www.hertz.co.za.
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