Hertz has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after falling rentals. The world's second largest car rental company is a household name. It has 10,200 franchises on six continents. It is one of the highest-profile companies to file for bankruptcy during COVID-19. It has furloughed or laid off over 20,000 of its workers (about half of its global workforce) as rentals have dried up. It said: "The impact of the pandemic on travel demand was sudden and dramatic, causing an abrupt decline in the company's revenue and future bookings." Hertz has over $18 billion of debt on its books.
Hertz started in 1923 when John Hertz bought a small car rental company. He pioneered a "drive yourself" system. He started with a dozen Model T Ford cars. His mission was, "to be the most customer-focused, cost-efficient vehicle...rental company in every market." CNN wrote about how the pandemic has impacted the entire car rental industry. It said rentals have been "devastated by the plunge in travel since the pandemic hit earlier this year". It added that nearly two-thirds of revenue comes from rentals at airport locations and that air travel has "fallen sharply".