HOUSTON — Germany-based automotive rental big Sixt entered the U.S. market about 10 years in the past in Florida however had a comparatively small U.S. presence earlier than the pandemic.

The corporate now has about 100 places within the U.S. and has ambitions for added development.

After the pandemic hit, the demand for automotive leases plunged. However early throughout the pandemic, Sixt made what its U.S. president and CFO, Tom Kennedy, known as a “daring transfer.” It purchased 10 airport places from Benefit, placing Sixt in all three main New York-area airports in addition to Houston, Orlando and Las Vegas, amongst different markets. Then it purchased just a few extra. 

Later in 2020, Sixt employed Kennedy, a former government for Hertz and Vanguard (the mother or father of Nationwide and Alamo earlier than Enterprise purchased these manufacturers).

Sixt is now current at 36 of the 50 U.S. airports it considers most necessary, the corporate mentioned in its second-quarter earnings report in August. Earlier this yr, it opened airport places in Charlotte and Baltimore. Its first Canadian location in Vancouver opened in July. Toronto is subsequent.

Sixt mentioned that U.S. income elevated by 66.1% within the first half of the yr, to just a little greater than $400 million (394.7 million euros). And Sixt mentioned it’s “rising profitably in all markets.” 

Many choices for premium automotive leases

Sixt’s bright-orange branding is memorable however so is its fleet combine. At an occasion in 2018 to have a good time Sixt’s entry into the New York market through an off-airport location, Sixt revealed an unique partnership with Cadillac.

Along with Cadillac, Sixt’s fleet consists of fashions from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Mini and Land Rover. 

The worth to hire a BMW X3 from Sixt hovered at round $88 a day this summer season at Houston Bush. Picture Credit score: Rebecca Tobin

Kennedy mentioned 40% of Sixt’s autos this yr could be thought-about luxurious, in accordance with a third-party knowledge supply; the closest competitor could be 17%, he mentioned. 

“We’re focusing on a subsection of demand with a premium positioning,” Kennedy mentioned. 

Kennedy additionally mentioned Sixt’s automobiles have comparatively few miles on them. “Individuals care about mileage,” he mentioned, including that premium automobiles “should be youthful once you remarket them.”

There are a number of varieties of vacationers for whom a premium rental is perhaps interesting, reminiscent of the company traveler who desires to make an impression on the consumer assembly (Sixt can deal with cut up billing, so enterprise vacationers pays the distinction on what their firm will reimburse). There’s additionally the bleisure buyer who desires an even bigger, nicer automotive on the weekend. Or the motive force who sees a chance to do an prolonged check drive of a mannequin they’re inquisitive about.

Clients who usually are not in marketplace for a luxurious rental can go for a Nissan, Toyota or comparable car from Sixt. Nevertheless, a current verify of costs at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Sixt’s web site confirmed {that a} BMW 3 Collection was solely about $13 a day costlier than a Toyota Camry. 

Earlier this summer season, I had household enterprise that took me to Texas, and Sixt gave me a chance to drive one among its autos. After touchdown in Houston, I negotiated my option to the automotive rental constructing, and about 20 minutes later I used to be easing out into steamy, midmorning visitors behind the wheel of a BMW X3 with rather less than 40,000 miles on it. 

I’ve rented Minis and Mercedes prior to now however did so from a boutique firm that makes a speciality of ultraluxe makes and fashions. 

The X3, against this, might be rented in a number of markets across the U.S. At Houston Bush, the worth in mid-September hovered round $88 a day.

Sixt continues to department out

In Houston, the in-terminal expertise with Sixt was quick and pleasant. The bodily plant has, as Kennedy described it, a “clear, trendy look.” And there was no mistaking its presence within the rental terminal: Every clerk’s desk was lit from inside by an orange glow. 

Sixt’s orange branding is not essentially restricted to the workplace. In a bid to develop its profile, Kennedy mentioned Sixt would do extra airport promoting. It is also shoring up journey accomplice relationships. A newly built-out gross sales workforce is courting company and leisure companies.

“Germany is the most important market, U.S. second-largest and rising,” Kennedy mentioned. “It would eclipse Germany sooner or later. That is my objective.”