Late Friday night, rental car company Hertz announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as demand for car rentals hits all time lows. Hertz had been giving hints this was a likelihood the last few weeks, but always seemed able to stave off this move. No more, as Hertz Global Holdings, which operates Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty rental car brands announced this move.
The Chapter 11 filing was only for US-based assets and did not apply to any worldwide assets such as those in Australia or Europe.
Hertz, like most rental car companies, has seen the demand for car rentals dramatically fall during the COVID-19 pandemic as travel has dropped to all-time lows. People aren’t traveling and that means they are not renting cars.
Hertz had staved off a Chapter 11 in recent weeks by adding 10,000 employees to the growing ranks of unemployed travel staff which has now crossed the 50% mark.
Unlike the airlines, Hertz didn’t get any government bailout money which, when combined with $14B in debt, a collection of leased vehicles getting dusty on a lot, and nearly 40,000 employees, was a death tell for them.
The entire rental car industry is in the doldrums and it’s likely that this move by Hertz may be followed by other rental car companies. Who’s next?
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