Hertz is rolling out a new photographic inspection system that takes pictures of cars before and after they are hired in a bid to eliminate disputes over damage.
The high-resolution photographic equipment takes multiple images of each car, which show up every scratch and dent. Hertz says it has been testing the technology at a secret rental location in the United States for the past month.
Richard Broome, vice-president of communications and corporate affairs, said Hertz hoped that the new photo inspections system, already in use by some American car insurers, would help to reduce the $170 million in damage payments that it incurs annually.
The new technology will replace the current system of a member of staff and the customers giving the vehicle a visual inspection at the start and the end of the rental period, then marking damage on a form.
As well as reducing losses, it is hoped the new technology will improve customer relations.
Broome added: “It will speed up the rental process and help to avoid any disputes over damage. Sometimes we may get into disputes with consumers that don’t get resolved.”
The new system is part of a wider move by the company to increase its investment in technology and expand its base to attract a younger market. On Monday, it announced the purchase of Automoti Group, a used car sales website that allows customers to rent a vehicle for three days before buying it.
In April, it acquired the Paris-based Eileo, a maker of the technology used in Hertz’s hourly rental car-sharing scheme operating in New York, London and Paris.
Hertz reported a return to profit in the second quarter, crediting much of its rebound to rising prices. The group, which also rents out equipment, said that its car hire division had reported a $143.5 million pre-tax profit in the second quarter, compared with a $39.3 million loss in the previous three months.