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Hertz takes the driver’s seat: Rental car giant has pedal to the metal

After veering off the road in 2020, Hertz was back in the driver’s seat in 2021 and poised for a sharp turnaround in 2022 as business, fleet and leisure travel—sidelined by the pandemic—are rebounding with an increased demand for rental cars. Investors are betting on Hertz Global Holdings continuing to benefit from more travelers hitting the road again.

In addition to Hertz, Estero-based Hertz Global Holdings also operates the Dollar and Thrifty vehicle rental brands. Last year was full of milestones for the rental car giant—and not all positive. What a difference a year makes.

When COVID-19 caused many people to shelter in place and work from home early last year, business collapsed for the rental car market. Hertz filed for bankruptcy in May 2020. At the end of October 2020, the century-old company was delisted by the New York Stock Exchange and began trading only on pink sheets as an unlisted security, not traded over the counter nor listed on a major stock exchange. More than a year later, Hertz was uplisted again in November 2021.

This followed last summer’s exit from Chapter 11 and last fall’s announcement of a new interim CEO and a major investment in an electric vehicle rental fleet, supercharging the reorganized company on a freshly paved route.  

2021 timeline

Feb. 26 In released financial results for 2020, Hertz Global Holdings’ revenue was $5.3 billion with a net loss of $1.7 billion.

March 2  Hertz files proposed plan of reorganization with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

March 30  Hertz completes sale of Donlen fleet management company to Athene Holding for $891 million.

April 3  Hertz selects equity capital sponsor for its exit from Chapter 11.

May 4  Hertz receives revised reorganization proposal for Chapter 11 exit.

May 7   Company reports first-quarter revenue of $1.3 billion and net income of $190 million.

May 11   Hertz selects $6 billion bid from Knighthead Capital Management, Certares Opportunities and Apollo Capital Management to provide equity capital for company’s reorganization plan.

May 24   Hertz survey claims family summer road trips are back.

June 30  Hertz completes Chapter 11 restructuring process and emerges from bankruptcy with a new board of directors.

Aug. 9   Company reports net loss of $168 million, including $633 million in reorganization expenses, despite stronger second-quarter financial results.

Oct. 5   Mark Fields, former Ford Motor Co. president and CEO, named interim CEO of Hertz.

Oct. 25   Hertz announces investment in the largest electric vehicle rental fleet in North America and one of the largest in the world, including an initial order of 100,000 Teslas by the end of 2022 and a new EV charging infrastructure.

Oct. 25   NFL champion Tom Brady teams up with Hertz for its EV marketing campaign.

Oct. 27   Hertz partners with Uber to make up to 50,000 Tesla electric vehicles available to lease by 2023 through the Uber network.

Oct. 27   Hertz partners nationally to sell used rental cars through Carvana’s online transaction technology.

Oct. 28   Company reports strong third-quarter results with total revenues of $2.2 billion, up 19% from the 2021 second quarter.

Nov. 1   Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweets that his electric vehicle company has yet to sign a contract with Hertz.

Nov. 2   Hertz claims Tesla agreement remains “on plan” and that delivery of electric vehicles already began.

Nov. 9   Uplisted company begins trading as HTZ on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, while ceasing to trade under HTZZ on the over-the-counter market.

Nov. 9-12  Public offering of 44,520,000 shares of common stock by Hertz shareholders.

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