The Hertz Corporation was founded in 1918 by Walter L. Jacobs. He started the business in Chicago, IL with 12 Ford Model T cars. Within 5 years, Jacobs company, simply called Rent A Car, had a fleet of 600 vehicles and an estimated annual revenue of $1 million.
In 1923, Jacobs sold the business to John D. Hertz who renamed the business to Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System.
In 1925, Hertz sold an interest in the company to General Motors. The remaining shares were sold to GM in 1943. General Motors opened the first car rental credit card in 1926 and the first airport car rental counter in 1932 at Chicago’s Midway airport.
In 1953, Jacobs purchased the company back from GM and took the company public on the NYSE.
In 1967, the company was purchased by RCA.
In 1987, Hertz was sold to the Ford Motor Company subsidiary Park Ridge Corporation.
In 2010, Hertz acquired British Car Auctions and in 2012, acquired rival Dollar-Thrifty Automotive Group.
In 2013, the company partnered with China’s largest rental company, China Auto Rental.
Currently, the company has 9,700 locations in 150 countries between the three brands; Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty Rent a Car.
Hertz added approximately 335,000 2015 model-year vehicles to its fleet through September 30, 2015.
Today the company operates in 145 countries worldwide. In May 2013, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced Hertz Global Holdings would relocate their worldwide headquarters from Park Ridge, New Jersey to Estero, Florida.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, Hertz filed for bankruptcy in May 2020.