If you’ve been near an airport lately, you’ve probably driven by the lots with the retired rental cars being offered for sale by their various agencies. No doubt you’ve looked at those cars and wondered if buying a used rental car is really such a good idea.
The car rental business started back in 1908, just about 20 minutes after Henry Ford sold the first Model T. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but the first rental car was indeed a 1908 Model T with an odometer affixed to the hub of its left front wheel. Joe Saunders, the entrepreneur who came up with the idea, charged customers 10 cents a mile to drive the Ford.
The Hertz company evolved out of Saunders’ original idea and was also the first car rental company to move seriously into retailing their former rentals. The company opened its first showroom in southern California in 1971. By 1974, Hertz had more than 100 retail outlets. Today, practically every major car rental agency offers some portion of its outgoing fleet for sale.
The $10,000 question is, of course, are they worth buying?