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Avis Adding 500 Altima Hybrids to US Rental Fleet

Avis Rent A Car System, LLC is adding 500 Nissan Altima Hybrid vehicles to its US fleet, available at select locations.

The new addition gives customers a choice when renting a gas/electric hybrid vehicle, with the option of selecting either the Toyota Prius or the Nissan Altima. Avis added 1,000 Toyota Priuses to its rental fleet earlier this summer.

The Nissan Altima Hybrid will be available at Avis locations throughout California. The Toyota Prius is available at locations in California, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Washington, D.C. The Toyota Prius hybrid will also be available in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York City and Philadelphia by the end of the year. Both the Nissan Altima Hybrid and the Toyota Prius are available with guaranteed reservations.

In addition to consumers who wish to make their rental experience one with minimal environmental impact, we expect a substantial number of customers are thinking of purchasing a hybrid vehicle, and want to try the Nissan Altima or Toyota Prius for themselves to see how it performs.

— Becky Alseth, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Avis Budget Group



While fleet sales to car rental companies are commonly seen as a low-margin low-profitability business, this kind of limited fleet sale makes sense, even if the price was low and profit margins anemic. The reason was stated in the article -- allowing prospective purchasers to more fully test drive hybrids before they decide to make the purchase. Personally, having rented a Prius for a few days from a local rental place in Boston (back in 2004!), I came to fully understand its driving characteristics and fuel economy reality, driving home the point that it was a real car with real benefits. Zipcar, the hourly car rental company, also has some Priuses in its fleet, and I think Flexcar, the west-coast version of Zipcar, has Civic hybrids. Not quite as full an experience as having one for three days straight, but a useful introduction.

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