FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The new owners of the Alamo and National
car rental brands will focus on distinguishing the two entities,
promoting National to road warriors and Alamo to leisure travelers.
As reported, ANC Rental Corp., which went into bankruptcy
reorganization two years ago, completed the sale of its Alamo and
National units to Cerberus Capital Management, which will operate
the brands under the name Vanguard Car Rental USA.
Cerberus, a New York-based private investment group, paid $230
million in cash and assumed $2.06 billion in liabilities.
"Our job is to restore the confidence the high-frequency
business traveler had in National and to make sure Alamo is
positioned as the value brand," said Vanguard CEO William Lobeck,
who previously ran Alamo and National when they were part of
As part of its reorganization strategy, ANC had consolidated the
Alamo and National brands at more than 175 airports, but Vanguard's
focus on brand distinction will bring back separate counters.
"The Alamo and National customers are, for the most part,
different customers," said Jon LeSage, research director for Abrams
Travel Data in Long Beach, Calif. "It's been challenging for
ANC/Vanguard to provide a seamless customer experience," he said,
adding that "Vanguard will have to scramble to better understand
their clients' renting habits and to gain back some share."
He noted that "the new management seems to want to start by
reinvigorating the strengths and value of each brand," both of
which still have strong pull with consumers.
Vanguard also intends to replace the two firms' fleet of more
than 155,000 vehicles with 2004 models by next spring. About
three-quarters of the cars already have been replaced. Vanguard has
fleet deals with General Motors and DaimlerChrysler.
To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].