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.

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.

Welcome to Board Member Gary Macdonald

ACRA would like to welcome Gary Macdonald with Midway Car Rental, as our newest board member.

Gary Macdonald is President and Chief Operating Officer of Midway Auto Group. Midway operates car rental, leasing, sales, and transportation businesses in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Macdonald has been active in the car rental business since 1976 when he joined Midway. He has been President since 1986. Midway Car Rental is a large independent car rental company based in Los Angeles, CA. Midway operates in several diverse Los Angeles market segments including the luxury rental business in Beverly Hills. Gary has held prior Board of Director positions with industry groups Catrala of CA, ACTIF, and ACRA.

Gary is a native of Southern California, and currently resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Altadena, CA. He is married and has four children.

ACRA Membership

The American Car Rental Association was founded to better monitor and document legal, public policy, and legislative issues affecting the car rental industry.

By joining the American Car Rental Association, you can make a difference by being a part of a recognized, strategic industry organization that speaks with a unified voice and a consistent message. As a member of ACRA, you can help ensure a credible and meaningful role for the car rental industry as legislation, consumer advocacy, travel issues, tax initiatives and other public policy matters are debated by the media and elected officials at all levels.

We invite car rental businesses of all sizes, as well as, vendors to join ACRA and promote sensible legislation as well as a sustainable public policy strategy for the long-term.

Becoming a member is an investment in yourself and your business’s success.

It’s important to keep in touch with the latest legislative developments whenever they occur and remain current on critical issues affecting the car rental industry without leaving your business. Let the American Car Rental Association provide you with the lobbying tools you need.

Membership in ACRA also provides a substantial member discount to this year’s Car Rental Show in Las Vegas in April 2013. Follow this link to register: http://www.carrentalshow.com

Reno Airport Proposed Car Rental Tax Increase

The American Car Rental Association strongly opposes any attempt to increase the car rental tax in Washoe County. Increasing the car rental tax an additional 2% would be kicking our customers while they are already down. Under the proposal, a $30/day car rental at the Reno airport would result in $12.58 in taxes and fees – more than 41% of the daily rate! This would solidify Reno as one of the highest taxed locations in the country for car rental.

We support the position of the Reno Airport Authority that recently stated, “..a step to further increase the tax burden on rental car customers is not as pain-free a solution as often represented.” As these taxes accumulate and rental car costs rise, the auto and travel industries are increasingly being harmed. Discriminatory taxes make it costlier to travel, suppressing demand for rental cars, hotels, resorts, airlines and other therefore, suppresses ancillary spending by those visiting our area. It’s simple economics.

Additionally, our industry opposed the original car rental tax for the stadium because there is absolutely no correlation between renting a car and attending an Aces game. Therefore, our customers receive no disproportionate benefit from paying the tax. So, the tax clearly fails the “fairness” test. Raising the tax only serves to exacerbate this patent unfairness. Furthermore, why should car rental customers continue to subsidize the debt of another private industry? Once again the airport asked a very appropriate question, “While a tax increase may address the immediate City financial issue associated with the Aces Ballpark development, the question is should it be solved by rental car customers.”