Advantage Rent a Car
was a formerly-independent car rental company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...
which at its peak operated more than 150 U.S. locations and 130 locations in 33 countries internationally. The brand, acquired in 2009 and now operated by the Hertz Corporation, provides business, leisure, government and local customers with a wide range of vehicle-rental services.
In 1963, a small business called “Three Ninety-Nine Car Rentals” opened its doors serving the large military population in San Antonio, Texas. Initially serving the government traveler, they expanded very quickly over the next 20 years into feeder and leisure markets including local retail and airport markets located throughout the Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...
, the operation was later consolidated in 1985 under the name – "Advantage Rent a Car".
As the 1990s progressed, expansion of the Advantage brand continued throughout the U.S. into the Sunbelt states and major leisure airport markets. In 2001, Advantage attained worldwide presence by launching an affiliate partnership program that grew to an international network serving more than 33 countries.
Bankruptcy and Acquisition by Hertz
In December 2008, Advantage filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closed about 40% of its U.S. retail locations, citing "a simultaneous drop in leisure travel, with greatly increased costs, and frozen credit markets" (presumably an effect of the 2008-09 global economic crisis). 440 workers, or almost half its workforce, were laid off at the time. Advantage was at that point privately held by disgraced Minnesota auto dealership mogul Denny Hecker (who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence).
On March 31, 2009, the assets of Advantage were purchased by The Hertz Corporation
Hertz Global Holdings Inc is an American car rental company with international locations in 145 countries worldwide.-Early years:The company was founded by Walter L. Jacobs in 1918, who started a car rental operation in Chicago with a dozen Model T Ford cars. In 1923, Jacobs sold it to John D...
for $33 million, successfully outbidding Enterprise Rent-a-Car
Enterprise Holdings, Inc. is a privately held company formed in 2009 to operate rental car subsidiaries: Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, Alamo Rent A Car, WeCar and its commercial fleet management, used car sales, and commercial truck rental operations.Enterprise Holdings was formed as...
in Minnesota bankruptcy court, including the Advantage logo and website (Hertz stated its intentions after Enterprise had previously announced they would acquire the assets). The Advantage website was modified to match (or closely mirror) some design and operational aspects of the Hertz website. By fall 2009, Hertz had rebranded its "Simply Wheelz" economy subbrand with the acquired Advantage trademark properties, and had largely withdrawn the former service.
Hertz described its plans to use Advantage for "...further expansion into the price-oriented travel demographic", "...providing Hertz a second brand to sell to corporate accounts and to market with key travel partners" and "...extending the useful life of vehicles in Hertz's rental fleet for Advantage's fleet needs".