Canadians using rental cars as 'Ultimate Test Drive' before making purchase

Survey finds link between rental car experience and future vehicle purchase

TORONTO, Oct. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental company in the world, as measured by revenue, fleet and employees, released its Canadian Automotive Survey results, which reveals that Canadians are using rental cars to test new vehicles.

With more than 5,000 employees, a network of nearly 700 fully staffed airport and neighbourhood locations and nearly 80,000 vehicles, Enterprise Holdings is the largest car rental company in Canada. Through its regional subsidiaries, the company operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, and National Car Rental brands. The survey results provide insight into consumer behaviour in the Canadian rental car market and demonstrate there is a correlation between positive rental car experiences and future vehicle purchase.

According to the study, nearly six in ten Enterprise Holdings (59 per cent) customers in Canada have considered purchasing a make and model of car they drove as a rental. This number increases to 72 per cent for those customers aged 25-34. In addition, Enterprise car rental customers were asked questions about the impact of a positive rental experience on their perceptions of specific makes or models. Overall, most customers (69 per cent) reported that a positive experience renting a certain car changed their perception of that specific car make or model. 

These insights suggest Canadians are using rental cars as more than a means for short-term or alternative transportation. In many instances, they are also experiencing them as an extended test drive of a vehicle in advance of purchasing it. Consumers acknowledge there are benefits to renting a car prior to purchasing one, as it's an opportunity to learn something new about the vehicle.

"Car rental is one of the best ways to introduce consumers – and prospective buyers – to different manufacturers and new car models," said Paul Belfer, vice president of Canadian fleet acquisition for Enterprise Holdings. "Our manufacturing partners have long found our fleet as a great testing ground for new technology. Now, this survey shows Canadians view our vehicles in the same way, as an opportunity to drive a new make and model that may influence a future purchasing decision."

In fact, this point was highlighted at the International Car Rental show this spring by Enterprise Holdings' Senior Vice President of Vehicle Acquisition Susan Lombardo, during the show's opening key note panel discussion.

"Manufacturers have discovered that car rental – regardless of whether it's for an hour, a day, a week or longer – is a significant link in the automotive value chain," said Lombardo. "That means we can help automakers maintain and even grow market share.  As a result, we continue to look for ways to collaborate and communicate with our manufacturing partners every day."

Another noteworthy finding from the recent automotive research is the differentiation in consumer behaviour between Canadians and Americans. The survey found nearly half of Canadian customers rent cars mostly for personal use, which is significantly higher than American customers (47 per cent vs. 37 per cent). In contrast, Americans are more likely to rent for business use (41 per cent vs. 31 per cent).

"This insight into personal versus business use and the difference in the North American markets also helps us tailor our car rental programs," said Belfer.

Other significant survey findings include the following Canadian consumer insights:

  • Most commonly, Canadians experience new automobile technology in rental cars. Almost half of Enterprise customers (42 per cent) say that rental cars are where they typically experience new automobile technology.
  • Over one-third of Canadians (38 per cent) believe their choice of a rental car make and model says a lot about them.
  • When selecting a rental car, Canadians are more likely to choose a compact car than American customers (16 per cent vs. 10 per cent).


About the survey:
Leger conducted a survey of 1501 Canadian Enterprise Holdings customers online between January 30 and March 3, 2015 using Enterprise Holdings' customer database. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About Enterprise Holdings
Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management together offer a total transportation solution. Combined, these businesses include extensive car rental and car-sharing services, commercial truck rental, corporate fleet management and retail car sales. Enterprise Holdings, through its regional subsidiaries, operates the largest fleet of vehicles in the world through a global network of more than 9,000 fully staffed neighbourhood and airport locations under the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. The company's affiliate, Enterprise Fleet Management, provides full-service fleet management to companies and organizations with medium-sized fleets. Other transportation services marketed under the Enterprise brand name include Enterprise CarShare, Enterprise Rideshare, Enterprise Car Sales, Enterprise Truck Rental and Zimride by Enterprise.

SOURCE Enterprise Holdings

Image with caption: "Nearly six in ten Enterprise Holdings (59 per cent) customers in Canada have considered purchasing a make and model of car they drove as a rental (CNW Group/Enterprise Holdings)". Image available at:

For further information: Lisa Martini, Enterprise Holdings,; Mary Zajac, Argyle Public Relationships,

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