Under a new partnership between the two companies announced Tuesday, Hertz will use Shift’s online vehicle sales platform to sell its fleet vehicles directly to consumers.
A pilot program was held in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.
“It was just over two years ago we started helping Shift customers buy and sell their cars, offering an easier and more transparent process while providing better value than the traditional alternatives,” Shift founder and chief executive officer George Arison said in a news release.
“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Hertz, which allows us to bring their large selection of premium vehicles to a broader consumer market, including Shift users,” he said. “Pairing Shift’s car enthusiasts, technology, and online marketplace with Hertz’s national reach and high-quality fleet has the potential to create the largest used-car marketplace in the United States.”
Jeff Adams, vice president of vehicle remarketing at Hertz, said: “Over the past five years, Hertz has implemented a robust retail car sales strategy and become a prominent retail used-car seller in the U.S.
“We are excited to partner with innovative companies like Shift to leverage their technology and bring a seamless, hassle-free purchase experience to our car buyers.”
In a phone interview with Auto Remarketing last month, Toby Russell — head of business and product at Shift — said the program works much like it does for an individual selling a car on Shift.
“Albeit, just a much bigger scale,” he said.
Hertz will take cars that have been out in fleets, inspect them and determine if they are retail quality, Russell said.
The company will send them to Shift, which will inspect/review the cars, as well.
Shift will then list the vehicles on its website. The buying consumer can then purchase the vehicle in the same way they would buy any other vehicle on the Shift website.
The companies have been pilot testing and have rolled out the program already in its California markets. Washington, D.C., will be the next, with additional markets to follow.
Shift expects to see a “significant volume” of cars from Hertz on the site, Russell said.
As far as reconditioning, both Hertz and Shift were doing recon during the pilot phase for quality control and standard. Shift has moved toward a “lighter” recon on its part, given the strength of Hertz’s certification process, Russell said.
Two different brands
As part of the partnership, Shift has created two distinct brands on its site: Shift Certified (the company’s traditional brand) and Hertz Certified. The rental company has its own process regarding the latter.
“What we’ve found is that the consumer response to that has actually been, really, very positive,” Russell said. “Hertz is an incredibly well-known brand. They’re the leader in the rental space and so lots of folks have interacted with that brand, made use of their vehicles and understand the quality that they represent.”
How they came together
Shift received an email that came into its inbox for press inquiries. But it wasn’t from a reporter or editor, oddly enough.
It was from Hertz.
The rental company was inquiring about using the Shift platform for selling vehicles directly to consumers, said Russell.
“We had built the platform to be designed for peer-to-peer capability and (we thought) that might be an interesting use case for a fleet to be able to take their vehicles and sell direct to consumer in the same way that private parties do,” he said.
The companies met and then began pilot testing it in California.