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A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.

  • Hertz, even more than rivals Avis and Enterprise, was also hammered during the pandemic when air travel collapsed, but it emerged from bankruptcy in June with an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude.
  • "We want to become a critical and essential component of modern mobility and that whole ecosystem," interim CEO Mark Fields tells Axios.

What's happening: In a rat-a-tat series of deals with leading mobility companies this week, Hertz's strategy is coming into focus.

  1. Tesla purchase. Hertz said Monday it will purchase 100,000 Tesla Model 3s by the end of 2o22 — by which time they'll comprise 20% of Hertz's fleet —as its first step in a shift toward electric vehicles.
  2. Uber partnership. Two days later, Hertz said it would make up to 50,000 of those Teslas available exclusively to Uber drivers, ensuring it has rental customers for its EVs while also helping Uber achieve its own zero-emissions goals.
  3. Carvana deal. Also on Wednesday, Hertz struck a deal to utilize Carvana's used-car sales website and logistics network to unload 1- to 2-year-old vehicles from its rental fleet.

Between the lines: The rental car industry — which buys and sells millions of vehicles annually — is an important cog in the used car market.

  • Historically, Hertz has sold vehicles from its rental fleet through wholesale auctions like Manheim, direct-to-dealer programs and its 68 Hertz Car Sales locations.
  • By using Carvana's online marketplace, Hertz can likely fetch higher prices — and better margins — for its cars than selling them at auction.
  • Hertz said the partnership with Carvana, which delivers used cars to customers' doorstep, will be important as it embarks on an ambitious effort to transform its fleet.
  • "We're disrupting ourselves, and as we do that, I think we’ll disrupt the industry," said Fields, who was formerly CEO of Ford Motor.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 10, 2021 - World

COP26 pledges turn to electric vehicles

A Volkswagen production line for electric cars in Emden, Germany, on Nov. 9. Photo: Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images

The latest big COP26 pledge aims to greatly speed the transition to electric vehicles, but it has split the auto industry and lacks buy-in from key countries.

Driving the news: The nonbinding commitment from a suite of companies, nations, cities and others calls for all car and van sales to be zero-emissions globally by 2040, and by 2035 in "leading markets."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.

Roger Stone won't cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone speaking in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone won't cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and will invoke the Fifth Amendment right not to testify, his attorney said Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: The announcement, first reported by ABC News, came hours after former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he wouldn't cooperate with the probe.