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WSJ must be slow this time of year

The article reads as an act of desperation to make some sort of headlines: buried in the story is 11% of sales going to fleet; that is NOT considered risky.

Yes, Honda and Subaru refuse to sell fleet vehicles, but not all "fleet sales" are bad, nor they all automatically involve rentals. Fleet sales also includes government, enforcement and large corporate accounts.

Ford has leveraged fleet sales very successfully: it now dominates in commercial vehicle sales, which can be very profitable and foster retail sales.

The WSJ conveniently chose a photo of a stripped Wrangler, as if to "infer" that those made the bulk of sales. In fact, the article is vague on which Jeep models it's talking about, and there's nothing in the mentioned Polk data indicating which trim level car rental companies are buying. Judging by what I have seen at rental lots, they may be buying more Wranglers to boost their "premium" rental business which, again, is very profitable.

Fleet sales have a place when used as part of an overall strategy: fleet sales can be used to increase customers' exposure to products and, when the vehicles themselves are actually good, they can generate positive market momentum.

I've read posts on this forum of people who rented a Wrangler while on vacation, liked it so much they ended up becoming Wrangler owners when they got back home.
 

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Jeep sells to rental fleets. Pretty much every brand does (as a side note, I have had Honda and Subaru rentals). WSJ doesn't understand the industry.
 

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I think the article is referring to all Jeeps models , not just wranglers, being purchased by rental car companies. I would imagine the wranglers are a very small percent of the 11% overall sales. Most Jeep rentals I see are Cherokees and Compass
 

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The WSJ conveniently chose a photo of a stripped Wrangler, as if to "infer" that those made the bulk of sales. In fact, the article is vague on which Jeep models it's talking about, and there's nothing in the mentioned Polk data indicating which trim level car rental companies are buying. Judging by what I have seen at rental lots, they may be buying more Wranglers to boost their "premium" rental business which, again, is very profitable.

I flew to Denver a couple of months ago and rented a Cherokee Trail Hawk, not the basic stripped down vehicle. I would think a vehicle like this would be a preferred rental this time of year.
 

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Most rental SUVs are a higher trim. The rental companies do that I think to justify the astronomical rates they charge for them. That said, when I had rental Wranglers (3 times), two were Sports and one was a Sahara. No options aside from the obvious ones for a rental (auto trans, power equipment, etc). But I've also driven Cherokees and GCs and they tend to be very well equipped.

I rent like 40 vehicles a year so I do pay some attention to the fleets and it's kind of interesting to spot a ringer now and then. Most of the stuff on the car side is base model trim but I've seen a V6 Altima this year (a decent stealth hot rod of sorts, though it's ruined by those awful CVTs Nissan uses) and even a VW GTI.
 

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I'm thinking I would rather buy a used Wrangler from a rental outfit (that is no where near moab) that properly maintains it than from some used car lot. You have no idea what kind of abuse the previous owner did to it.
You would never, ever want to buy a used rental car.
 

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Once upon a time--in another life--my position in middle management for a retail chain earned me the company "car," which was a Wrangler Sport. After several years worth of complaints from the minority, the company changed to a base Grand Cherokee.

This corporate account would be considered "fleet."
 

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Myself and two co-workers rented three Jeep Wrangler Unlimited's on two separate occasions as I wanted to "test drive" before making a decision to buy. We rented from Avis in Las Vegas and toured northern Arizona and southern Utah. We were careful, but still utilized the skid plates on a couple occasions.

On a personal note, I would never purchase a rental vehicle because even though I don't abuse rentals, other people tend to get stupid when behind the wheel of someone else's vehicle, especially if they purchased the "walk away" insurance.

Here's a photo of the rentals at Toroweap Overlook.
 

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The rental Wranglers I've had in HI def. swayed my opinion on my recent purchase. So their fleet sales resulted in a civilian sale in my case.

On a side note, rental Jeeps are seriously fun...
 

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The rental Wranglers I've had in HI def. swayed my opinion on my recent purchase. So their fleet sales resulted in a civilian sale in my case.
Exact same story here. The Wrangler was off our radar until a rental in Hawaii about a year ago and the fun our family had in it put the model squarely in our sights.

Funny thing is that we're trying to secure one for our next visit and finding the Wrangler rental costs to be more than double last year. With stories like ours, Jeep should be subsidizing rentals far beyond fleet deals.

To another point mentioned above, I found these Hawaiian rentals have a pretty easy life aside from heavily used freedom panels. However most or all are very bare models with 3.21 gearing, so they would have niche appeal: budget buyers or "bones-up" builders.
 

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Someone at FCA must have heard in focus groups that many customers became Wrangler owners after renting one on vacation, and decided it should be part of their marketing strategy. I see nothing wrong with that.

BTW, this is the slowest time of year in the auto industry as most automakers shut down between the holidays. It seems the auto journalist at WSJ was running out of things to write about and decided to make up a story out of nothing.
 

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Someone at FCA must have heard in focus groups that many customers became Wrangler owners after renting one on vacation, and decided it should be part of their marketing strategy. I see nothing wrong with that.
Guilty as charged ;)
 

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I rented a Jeep once in Florida...they gave me the choice of a Kia SUV or a Jeep SUV. I chose the Jeep, cool, a week in a Jeep....got a Compass. A freaking Compass.

Underwhelmed wouldn't even begin to describe that epic POS. No power, no brakes, no steering and it moaned like a cow in heat.
 

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It all depends. I have purchased several Toyota Corollas over the years that came from a Large Rental chain.
ALL have been clean and well maintained. No regrets.
 

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Five years ago I traveled to Princeton, NJ, on business in February. There was snow in the forecast so I reserved a rental "SUV".

When I landed they had given my Kia Sorento to another customer and offered to upgrade me to a Grand Cherokee. I happily accepted and went my merry way.

The night before I was to fly back we got over a foot of snow. I was happy to have the Jeep as it backed out of its snowy coffin without drama, loaded my luggage and got me to Newark Airport without incident.

Dealing with EWR workers after a snow storm was a completely separate matter.

My Jeep rental after I moved it closer to the hotel door for loading
 

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A Las Vegas Avis wrangler as spoken about above, about to get winched out of a snow/mud bog that ambushed me. :) $450 for the truck to drive 30 miles off-pavement from Blanding, UT.


And here's another Avis Wrangler on the backside of Arches. Money well spent! But I wouldn't want to buy one later.


 
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