Hertz refutes report of Uber partnership

Car rental firm is researching several startups

Park Ridge, N.J. - Hertz executives are refuting a report this week that claims they are in talks with Uber to utilize the controversial smartphone app in car rentals.

A spokesperson for the nation’s second biggest car rental company didn’t deny the possibility of a future partnership with Uber or a similar company but said they are very early in the process.

“We’re doing a lot of research,” Rich Broome, Hertz’s executive vice president of corporate affairs and communication, said in an interview Thursday. “We see a lot of opportunity there for Hertz.”

Along with Uber, Broome named Hailo, Lyft and Sidecar as other technology startups the 96-year-old car rental firm has been researching. He remarked that those companies are “doing interesting things.”

The startup companies mentioned offer apps which allow users to order -- and pay for -- a ride from their smartphones. By using GPS systems, the apps allow taxis to pull right up to the client. Uber has caused controversy among the heavily-regulated cab industry, with drivers claiming the app is bad for business.

On Wednesday, a report from Reuters hinted at a burgeoning partnership between Hertz and Uber, using quotes from Hertz Group President Michel Taride. Broome said the quotes were taken out of context.

“It got transformed into a headline,” Broome said. “It came across that we were talking just with Uber.”

Broome refused to comment further on the company’s research but said Hertz is “trying to stay ahead of the game” as they recognize that “customer needs are changing.”

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