Enterprise Holdings – which owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car – continues to relocate cars and trucks to its New York and New Jersey branch offices in response to unprecedented demand from consumers as well as insurance companies, government agencies, CAT (catastrophe) teams and local utilities.
“Although we are working hard to increase our local fleet as quickly as possible, there are still significant waiting lists in some communities where residents are requesting replacements for their damaged vehicles,” said Matt Darrah, executive vice president of North American operations for Enterprise Holdings. “Despite our best efforts to be prepared, the magnitude of the storm has simply outstripped our resources and manpower in some locations.”
Darrah said that Enterprise Holdings continues to look for ways to address key challenges at the grassroots level. For the first week after the storm, the company and its three rental car operations suspended “drop fees” for one-way rentals in order to help accommodate the travel needs of customers impacted by the storm. In addition, it has brought in emergency fuel to assist as many of its neighborhood locations as possible.
At its peak, “Superstorm Sandy” forced Enterprise Holdings to close more than 400 of its branches along the Eastern Seaboard and damaged nearly a thousand of its vehicles. Since then, the company has been reopening offices and relocating more than 12,000 additional vehicles to the New York metro area alone, some coming from as far as Colorado, with another 5,000 on the way. Plus, Enterprise is now diverting thousands of new cars – previously slated for other parts of the country – to the region. In total, more than 27,000 vehicles are being added to the company’s fleet in New York and New Jersey.
Because Enterprise Holdings operates more than 6,000 neighborhood and airport branch offices throughout the United States, the company plays a unique role in providing local transportation alternatives, particularly when tornadoes, wildfires and other natural disasters like Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy strike.
For example, well before Sandy made landfall, Enterprise started responding to requests for vehicles from the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue, the local utilities and other government agencies. After the storm subsided, these first responders had the necessary cars and trucks to immediately begin the recovery effort.
To facilitate this kind of emergency response, each Enterprise regional operation has an Emergency Action Plan. It includes a Business Continuity Plan that features a life-safety guide identifying what to do in the event of an emergency, a contact list for key personnel and disaster recovery guidelines for daily rental branches. The plan also focuses on how Enterprise’s branch offices communicate with each other to ensure that the right number and types of vehicles are available where they are needed most.
As a result, the company also has been able to process during the past few weeks more than 26,000 insurance-related car rentals to serve the needs of consumers whose vehicles were lost, damaged or destroyed by the storm.
“Our employees are part of these hard-hit communities, and remain committed to doing everything they can to help get their neighbors and local businesses moving again,” noted Darrah. “They have been working practically round the clock, before and after the storm – we are so proud of their efforts and spirit of service when faced with such overwhelming circumstances.”
To aid in the recovery of communities in that area, the Enterprise Holdings Foundation also has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross, with much of that donation targeted to the hardest-hit areas like New Jersey and New York.