Then we shall begin. Back in 1957, Enterprise Rent-A-Car was born – except it wasn’t, because in those days, it was known as Executive Leasing. However, the thinking behind the business hasn’t changed much down the years.
Founder Jack Taylor’s visionary idea was that customers would see the benefits of leasing automobiles rather than buying them. And although conventional wisdom said otherwise, Jack’s commitment to personal service won through.
By the late 1960s, Jack was opening operations outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Along the way, he introduced our distinctive ‘e’ logo that’s still used today, and renamed the company in honour of the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier on which he’d served during World War II.
In 1974 an enterprising rental manager in Orlando started a new pick-up programme that provided customers with a free ride to the rental office. As this innovative service quickly spread to other branches, it set a precedent for other people seeing their own great ideas being taken company-wide.
By the end of the 1980s we had over 800 locations nationwide, a fleet of 100,000 vehicles and a new name, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, to go with our $500 million revenue.
In 1993, we introduced the Enterprise wrapped car, symbolizing our dedication to customer service, which quickly became an icon. Soon after, we expanded into Canada. The 1990s were a great time for us, as Jack and his son Andy were named Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year ® and we were listed in Fortune Magazine as one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’.
The mid 1990s saw Enterprise make its first steps into Europe. In 1994, we opened our first European branch in Reading, UK, a country where we now operate more than 400 branches and have over 3,500 employees. Offices in Ireland and Germany followed in 1997 and have since grown to over 20 and more than 190 branches respectively. More recently, in 2012, Enterprise expanded operations into France and Spain with the acquisition of Citer SA and its subsidiary Atesa from PSA Peugeot Citroën.
And now here we are, with over 9,000 locations worldwide, a fleet far in excess of 1.9 million vehicles and an extended global family of more than 93,000 enterprising employees and plenty of management trainees learning the ropes. All of this growth and expansion comes from Jack’s personal philosophy that if you take care of your customers and employees first, the profits will follow.
More than anything, he recognised that customer retention is crucially important. To this end, employees have always been empowered to make decisions that directly affect their customers. By allowing branch managers to run their location as if it’s their own business and base a portion of their pay on branch profits, Jack has seen his personal Enterprise grow to more than $19.4 billion in revenue.