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Avis Budget Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Sign New Connected Car Agreement



WHY IT RATES: Renting a car in Europe just got easier. Those traveling to the continent will be able to choose the vehicle they want, select desired upgrades and even extend the duration of their rental, all through the Avis mobile app.—Jessica Zickefoose, TravelPulse Associate Editor

Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR) today announces a new agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Group to connect more than 22,000 Fiat vehicles in Avis Budget Group’s European fleet.

A connected vehicle can allow Avis customers to manage their entire rental experience through the Avis mobile app, including choosing the exact vehicle they want, selecting an upgrade and extending the duration of their rental from their phones. Even returning a rental vehicle is automated with connected technology, allowing customers to drop off their vehicles through a simple tap in the Avis app.

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In addition, these connected vehicles enable lock and unlock technology, providing a straight-to-vehicle, self-serve option for customers.

The connected FCA vehicles will provide valuable telemetry data in real-time, including mileage, fuel level and updates on the mechanical condition of the car. Connectivity also enables vehicles to get back on the road faster, giving increased availability for rental customers as Avis Budget Group fleet managers can process the information they need more quickly.

FCA is providing a ready to use telematics solution that offers a simplified and efficient way for Avis Budget Group to connect vehicles, reducing typical cost and complexity of implementing aftermarket solutions on its own.

The partnership follows a recent announcement from Avis Budget Group as it surpassed the 200,000 connected car threshold globally. Its partnership with FCA now means that an additional 22,000 Fiat vehicles in the Avis Budget Group fleet will be connected, significantly contributing towards its goal of a fully connected global fleet.

“At the end of 2019, we surpassed the milestone of 200,000 connected vehicles in our global fleet. This partnership with FCA group, adding a further 22,000 connected vehicles in Europe, is a step towards having a fully connected global fleet,” said Valerie Chenivesse, VP of Fleet Services – International, Avis Budget Group. “Connectivity allows us to deliver a more on-demand and streamlined experience for our customers, by helping to increase efficiencies as a business.

FCA said that it is very happy to offer a new service to Avis Budget Group and help optimizing its customer experience and productivity. We consider the connected vehicles as part of our strategy and look forward to enriching this product thanks to our collaboration with Avis Budget.

SOURCE: Avis Budget Group press release

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Car Rental & Rail

Over 3,500 Rental Cars Destroyed in Airport Fire



Over 3,500 rental cars were destroyed on Friday when a fire broke out in the grassy overflow area of Southwest Florida International Airport.

A Lee County Port Authority spokesperson told CNN that the fire originally only affected 20 cars that were parked in the rental car overflow area. Authorities were called around 5 p.m. By the time the fire was extinguished, it had spread through 15 acres.

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“By the time we had units on the scene, we had 100 cars (on fire). We lost count after the hundreds,” said Melinda Avni, Mitigation Specialist for Florida Forestry Service of Caloosahatchee.

Several fire departments and ground and aerial support from Florida Forestry Service arrived to put out the fire. At least 80 airdrops were made by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office’s aviation unit.

The fire was contained by 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, almost 18 hours after it began.

“We appreciate their courage and willingness to help our Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Department. Together they were able to keep all our passengers and airport visitors safe,” the airport said in a Facebook post.

No injuries had resulted from the fire. The airport remained open and continued service, though the inbound lanes of Terminal Access Road were closed. Passengers were bussed inside from the employee parking lot.

A total of 3,516 rental cars were destroyed or damaged. The cars were being stored at the time and were not in service.

The Avis Budget Group confirmed that some of the company’s vehicles were caught in the blaze. The company is still evaluating the damage and does not have a final vehicle count at this time. Eight other companies were also affected by the fire.

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