The car rental company Hertz has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after plummeting rentals. Hertz is the world's second largest car rental company and is a household name. It operates over 10,200 franchises in 150 countries on six continents. It is one of the highest-profile companies to file for bankruptcy because of COVID-19. It had already furloughed or laid off more than 20,000 of its employees as rentals dried up worldwide. This is about half of its global workforce. 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 had $18.8 billion of debt on its books as of March the 31st.
Hertz was founded in 1923 when John Hertz of the Yellow Cab and Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company bought a small car rental company. He pioneered what he called a "drive yourself" system, making available just a dozen Model T Ford cars to customers. His mission was, "to be the most customer-focused, cost-efficient vehicle and equipment rental company in every market." CNN wrote about how the pandemic has impacted Hertz and 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: "Nearly two-thirds of its revenue comes from rentals at airport locations, and air travel has fallen sharply."