Enterprise Holdings – Three Brands under One Roof!

Enterprise Holdings offers car renters three distinct brands while maximizing the benefits of economies of scale as the largest car rental company in the world

Company Background

Enterprise Holdings (“EH”), one of the largest privately held companies in America, owns and operates more than 1.7 million vehicles in over 70 countries worldwide. With annual revenue of $19.4 billion, more than 91,000 employees and over 9,000 airport and neighborhood locations, Enterprise is the largest global car rental service provider by revenue, employees and fleet size. [i]

Business Model

Enterprise Holdings offers customers a “total transportation” solution primarily through three EH owned car rental brands that serve different customer segments at airports and neighborhood branches:

  • National: Premium brand that appeals to business travelers who value convenience, high quality service and loyalty reward programs
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Affordable neighborhood-market brand that attracts “home city” renters [ii]
  • Alamo: Affordable brand that targets budget-conscious travelers

EH also operates a Car Sales division which allows the company to sell its lightly-used rental fleet directly to consumers and a Fleet Management Business that helps clients acquire, maintain and monitor their commercial vehicles.

Operating Model

Best-in-Class Back Office Integration

EH’s commitment to a three brand portfolio allows the company to provide distinct car rental experiences while benefitting from integrated back-office operations. The company accomplishes this by employing a number of innovative tactics:

  • Co-location: EH proactively co-locates Enterprise, National and Alamo at airports in order to allow the brands to “share” cars when demand at one outstrips the others [iii]
    • To facilitate sharing, EH deliberately removes brand identification from its vehicle fleet allowing for seamless vehicle reallocation
    • The proximity of co-located lots reduces wait times for customers who (unknowingly) are being allocated a vehicle from a different EH brand
  • Fleet Management: By proactively sharing its fleet, EH allows managers to balance weekday business traveler demand at National with the influx of vacationer/leisure customers at Alamo on weekends. This competitive advantage reduces overhead costs and enhances inventory management (this also applies broadly to optimizing maintenance, fuel and IT costs across brands)
  • Leverage at Airports: Prior to the acquisition of Vanguard (the parent company of National and Alamo) in 2007, Enterprise struggled to grow its airport footprint and obtain good locations at major hubs. The volume of sales traffic from operating three brands gives EH leverage to negotiate prime locations at airports

Distribution Network

Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s leading position in the “home city” rental market and its distribution network of more than 5,500 offices gives EH unrivaled proximity to potential customers (i.e., there is an Enterprise with 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population). [iv] Controlling this network has allowed Enterprise to develop a supply chain that leverages its fleet size to compete in all aspects of the “local transportation” ecosystem. Some unique advantages include:

  • Data Driven Insights into Local Markets: Enterprise operates a propriety Automated Rental Management System (“ARMS”) to streamline communication between collision repair centers, insurers, local Enterprise branches and drivers after an accident. By tracking daily repair cycle times, vehicle status and overall collision shop performance, Enterprise gives its channel partners unique local market data while winning new customers [v]
  • Agile, Local Fleet Inventory Management: Enterprise’s local network allows EH to utilize its fleet more efficiently than rivals by providing neighborhood-based services including van pooling, car sharing and hourly rental programs

Customer Service  

Enterprise operates a sophisticated customer satisfaction tool across its three brands. The Enterprise Service Quality Index (“ESQi”) allows EH to measure and proactively manage its customer service experience. ESQi’s insights reinforce EH’s commitment to customer service as a core pillar of its business. According to Andrew Taylor, the company’s founder, ESQi shows that “customers who were fully satisfied with our [EH’s] service were three times as likely to rent from us [EH] again.” As a result, the company uses ESQi scores as an important component of compensation and promotion for mangers across its brand portfolio. [vi]


Since EH is a private company its profitability profile and financial statements are not available. Nonetheless, the company has clearly thrived in recent years. EH’s portfolio of brands now accounts for nearly 36 percent of the U.S. airport market versus 28 percent in 2007.[vii] Furthermore, 2015 marked the fourth consecutive year that Enterprise, National and Alamo placed in the top three spots of J.D. Power’s North American Rental Car Satisfaction Survey. [viii] EH’s sustained success can be attributed to its complementary business and operating models that allow management to provide a high level service to customers by leveraging EH’s economy of scale and integrated logistics and back office operations.

For those interested in learning more about Enterprise’s acquisition of Vanguard in 2007, see below:


[i] See company website: https://www.enterpriseholdings.com/Default.aspx

[ii] Home city rentals are best defined as people who need a rental car while their own is being repaired.

[iii] Andrew C. Taylor. “How I Did It…Enterprise’s Leader on How Integrating an Acquisition Transformed His Business.” Harvard Business Review. Sept 2013: 41-44. Print.

[iv] https://www.enterpriseholdings.com/siteAssets/Enterprise%20fact%20sheet.pdf

[v] http://www.armsautosuite.com

[vi] See endnote iii

[vii] https://www.enterpriseholdings.com/press-room/enterprise-holdings-expanding-global-network-neighborhood-services-and-airport-market-share.html

[viii] https://www.enterpriseholdings.com/press-room/enterprise-rent-a-car-ranks-highest-in-jd-power-2015-rental-car-satisfaction-study.html


Chick-Fil-A: A model that has us all EATING MOR CHIKIN!


De Beers: “From Discovery to Desire”

Student comments on Enterprise Holdings – Three Brands under One Roof!

  1. Chris – you made the car rental business interesting. Great job! EH seems to benefit tremendously from each of the EH 3 brands, and their integration in the US. When EH thinks of expanding into new markets, how does it evaluate bringing all three brands to market at the same time? It seems difficult to introduce three new brands into a new market from both an investment and customer adoption perspective. Additionally, It was very interesting to learn a bit more about how EH efficiently utilizes and optimizes its car fleet. I was curious to know how its hourly rental business has performed? It seems as though this model could effectively compete against new business models coming to market, such as ZipCar.

  2. Nicely written. I was actually surprised to find out that National/Alamo was a part of Enterprise. I have had very consistent service with National and Alamo as they were the preferred rental car of my previous employer. Traveling to many different markets with tremendous fluctuations in rental demand, I always received quality service and quality rentals from National/Alamo and became loyal to their brand. Enterprise on the other hand has been nothing but a nightmare in my past experience. Poor rental choices, as well as terrible customer service, including trying to charge for damage already present on the vehicle, left such a bad impression that I would never rent from them again. Perhaps my limited experience with enterprise is too small a sample to represent the brand as a whole, but it left a large enough impression for enterprise to lose a customer for life.

Leave a comment