American Car Rental Association:
The Voice of the American Auto Rental Industry
Dedicated to the betterment of the rental car industry by supporting and promoting sensible legislation that will benefit all its members.

Thank You and Farewell to Board Member Gil Cygler

Gil Cygler
I met Gil Cygler under the most egregious circumstances in 1988. The rental industry in New York was under attack and the rental car owners/operators and CEO’s were gathering to begin the strategies of war against the now infamous amendment to Section 396Z, the NY general business law, that banned the sale of LDW and worst of all, capped the amount a car rental company could collect from a renter for damage to a rental unit to an insulting, trivial, and unbelievable $100.

Over the ensuing years, almost everyone that originally met on that day, closed the doors and became rental car history. And yet, Gil Cygler and his family owned business, (Dollar Rent A Car at the time/later Allcar Rent A Car) continued throughout the years, becoming more involved politically and furthering the causes of the NY rental car industry.

Gil Cyger is a very quiet champion. In 2012 he was named the King of Kings for his active involvement in a number of civic and business organizations as well as sitting on the board of the American Car Rental Association. But, Gil would be the first to downplay his accomplishments and would blush at being called a King of Kings. When given the award, Gil credited his father for teaching him about the virtues of hard work, customer service, and integrity. Gil always believed that there is more to running a business than working in an office all day and continuously stayed involved with community affairs and rental car legislative matters.

In August 2010, Gil achieved the successful advocacy of the New York State legislature to provide a choice to consumers who need to rent a car resulting from a car insurance claim and has since helped to educate others interested in the same legislation in their states.

Gil has been an important board member with ACRA. He was the chairperson of the Car Sharing Committee, a member of the Legal and Legislative Committee, and a successful advocate in Washington, DC. If you needed a letter to the legislators, he wrote one, if you needed an opinion, he offered one, and if you needed his presence, he was there to rally the cause.

Most of all, I admire Gil’s commitment to family and his sincere concern for his friends and their families. He never fails to ask how you are, how your spouse is, and how your children are before he asks about your business. He has his priorities in the right place.

I applaud all of Gil’s accomplishments in the world of rental car. I congratulate him on the sale of his family business to Enterprise. I will miss his involvement with ACRA and the smaller company representation that he lent to our board. But I know I will have a forever friend in spite of our original introduction many years ago.

Sharon Faulkner
Executive Director

In Memoriam: Frank Colonna

Frank Colonna

Frank Colonna, long-standing ACRA board member and industry supporter passed away on March 30. Frank was the founder and owner of Triangle Rent A Car based in Raleigh, N.C. He grew his business to include 29 locations across four states; North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. Frank was a recipient of the Russell Bruno award for Outstanding Service to the Rental Car Industry. Although a southerner by choice, he was born in Brooklyn and was raised in Kingston, N.Y, and retained quite a bit of the New Yorker in him all of his life. Frank was always ready to fight ACRA’s legislative issues with intensity and integrity.

Frank was someone you could always count on to write a letter or an email proclaiming support of a bill or non-support of poor legislation. No matter how busy he was, he found the time to devote himself to the concerns of the car rental industry. Frank also made every effort to be kind to so many of his employees, friends, and fellow car rental associates. I, personally, have numerous emails from Frank that encouraged me in my work as the executive director of ACRA. I saved them because, at the time they were sent to me, they gave me what I needed to hear. Now, they give me something to remember Frank by; and they make me smile to think of him. He was a fine man with many friends and admirers; a true success story in business and in life.

Donations in Frank’s memory can be made to the Melanoma Research at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Memoriam written by:
Sharon Faulkner
Executive Director

Become an ACRA State Ambassador

acra-state-ambassador

As ACRA Continues to gRow, changes are happening with our legislative involvement at all levels, including Congress, state and even municipal, which will introduce and affect legislation that can have a direct impact on your business.

ACRA has some excellent lobbyists to represent individual car rental companies, but we only have one advocate working on behalf of all the members of the association when coordinating lobbying activities for the interests of the car rental industry: Sharon Faulkner, the executive director. And she could use your help.

The most successful car rental operators develop relationships with their customers, their chamber of commerce and their local elected officials. Your input in your city and state can be a great asset to ACRA, as well.

The legislators hear from the major car rental companies on a regular basis and understand that these companies do business in their state, but they also want to know what the small business entrepreneur needs to run his company effectively.

Big-time lobbyists and public relation firms will never replace the face and voice of the car rental owner/operator or its manager. That’s why we need your help.

It’s easy to become involved and not a big-time commitment. Maybe a few teleconferences when we have a particular concern in your state to see if we can ask you to send an email or letter or simply call your legislator. We will provide you with the tools, the words and the legislative contact information that will make your involvement easy, so you can continue to operate your business.

The car rental industry has more than 100,000 employees that work 365 days a year for long hours. Poor legislation will not only impact these employees, but their families as well. The car rental industry is an integral service that benefits so many, and your help is needed to insure our legislators are informed when laws affect your business.

ACRA would like at least one car rental ambassador from each of the 50 states — or more ambassadors if that state has multiple issues that keep cycling into the legislative sessions.

Ambassadors need to be good-standing members of ACRA. Then they can be a voice in advocating not only for their company, but also for all the car rental company members in that state.

ACRA plans to hold an annual in-person meeting for the ACRA ambassadors at the Auto Rental Summit in November or the annual Car Rental Show in April. And as an added compensation, we would discount your yearly ACRA membership by $50 for your participation.

So, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by becoming a car rental ambassador with ACRA, saving $50 off your membership dues and maybe even getting a free lunch at Auto Rental Summit or the Car Rental Show.

Email Sharon Faulkner at sfaulkner@acraorg.com or call 1-888-200-2795.

ACRA Thanks Outgoing President Barton for Service

Bob Barton accepting plaque

Bob Barton, outgoing President of ACRA from 2006-2014, accepting a plaque for his service and dedication to the growth of ACRA. Joe Knight, the current President of ACRA gave the award and noted Bob’s words as displayed on the plaque: “We are our own worst enemies when we choose not to work together on legislative and taxation issues.” The entire membership of ACRA thanks Bob Barton for a job very well done.

ACRA Testifies in U.S. Senate on Recall Bill

After introducing the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 in Senate last week, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) led a hearing on the bill yesterday in front of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance. This legislation would prohibit rental car companies from renting vehicles that are under manufacturer recall.

Sharon Faulkner, executive director of ACRA, expressed the importance of making sure that all rental cars are safe to drive. Although the car rental industry initially had doubts about the first recall bill in 2011, the industry was able to work with lawmakers to address concerns.

“The end result is a proposal that will provide our customers additional assurance that the vehicles they rent are safe, and provides our industry with a uniform federal standard across the country and that addresses our original operational concerns,” said Faulkner.

Continue reading the full story on Auto Rental News.

Welcome to Board Member McKenzie Spalding

ACRA would like to welcome McKenzie Spalding with Choice Auto Rental, Inc., as our newest board member.

McKenzie Spalding serves as the Director of Operations for Choice Auto Rental in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. Choice Auto Rental focuses exclusively on insurance replacement rentals and meeting the need of this specific customer. With added services including the operation of a fleet of flatbed tow trucks, the company continues to offer innovative solutions to insurance companies and collision centers in Minnesota.

She is passionate about politics, and recently advocated on behalf of Minnesota’s consumers in need of a rental vehicle when involved in an insurance claim. In May 2011, Governor Mark Dayton signed into law this bill that requires insurance companies to provide the following advisory to their customers, “Minnesota law gives you the right to choose any rental vehicle company, and prohibits me from requiring you to choose a particular vendor.” Termed ‘commonsense legislation’ by Minnesota legislators, McKenzie was pleased to witness this bill being signed into law after a short 5 months of advocacy.

She serves on the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers – Minnesota’s Government Affairs Committee, and is active in legal and legislative issues that may affect the industry in Minnesota.

She graduated with a B.S in Marketing and Finance, and currently resides in Woodbury, MN with her husband Nicholas.

Vehicle Manufacturers Join ACRA

Nissan, Infiniti, Toyota, Subaru, Chrysler, Mazda, and General Motors logos

The American Car Rental Association is proud to announce that the following OEM’s have joined with ACRA to support the car rental industry: Nissan/Infiniti, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Subaru of America, Inc., Chrysler Group, LLC., Mazda, and General Motors. Our car rental companies have long been the largest purchasers of fleet vehicles in the United States and we welcome these manufacturers as our recommended fleet suppliers to our car rental members.

New Florida Law Restricts non-US Drivers

A law was passed in Florida which came into effect Jan 1, 2013. According to this law, non US residents can drive in Florida only with both a license and an international driving permit.

ACRA is working with the state legislature and other stake holders to change the recently enacted Florida law that requires non-citizens to have an International Driving Permit to drive in Florida. At this time, the Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of this requirement, as we, and they, believe the law may conflict with an international treaty. We will keep you informed of our legislative progress regarding this critical issue to the rental car industry.

For more information, you can try contacting Courtney Heidelberg, Communications Director with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle, at 850-617-3102 or courtneyheidelberg@flhsmv.gov.