26 July 2007

Avis Goes Green With Hybrid Rentals

Avis is greening its rental fleet, announcing today that it will add 500 Nissan Altima hybrids to the thousand Toyota (TM) Priuses it began offering earlier this summer. The move is probably less a sign of Avis's (CAR) eco-consciousness than a strategy to spice up a dowdy rental fleet of Detroit cast-offs like the Chevry Impala. For ethanol fans, Avis offers flex-fuel cars. The hybrids are part of Avis's new "Cool Cars" collection that includes some decidedly brown vehicles like General Motors's (GM) Hummer and Dodge's (DCX) Nitro monster SUV. Apparently traditional car rental agencies are feeling some pressure from Web-based competitors Zipcar and Flexcar, which maintain fleets of "cool cars" like the Prius, Honda (HMC) Civic hybrid and Mini Cooper but which, for the most part, eschew carbon-spewing big sedans and SUVs.