Stuart Gent has taken over the role of managing director from Michael White, who left at the end of 2004, and heads up a new team which includes Penny Stoolman, who joined the company as director of sales and marketing last year. Stoolman is already familiar within the fleet industry, having held roles at RAC, Kwik-Fit Fleet and most recently Arval.
Already in the past year a number of new initiatives have been introduced.One of the most high profile was the launch of in-car safety guides in every vehicle on the fleet, reflecting the growing awareness of the duty of care employers have to their staff.
The guides will provide drivers with information on the safety features of their rental car, as well as safe driving tips from road safety charity Brake.
Every model of the Avis rental fleet now has a dedicated in-car user and safety guide that will include handy tips on getting to know Avis cars. This includes a diagram of dashboard instruments and answers to frequently asked questions.
The in-car user guide explains where and how the rear doors can be locked to prevent children accidentally opening the doors.
Avis is also introducing the Volvo S80 and V70 to its fleet as part of an ongoing commitment to safety.
Stoolman said: ‘We are putting safety first as part of our commitment to customers. This includes offering service consistency. While safety is a key focus, this isn’t something new for us. We just want people to be aware of our commitment.
‘Businesses are under increasing pressure to ensure the health and safety of their company car drivers. We work closely with Brake to improve road safety for our customers.
‘Every model of car is different and it’s important that our customers understand the safety features of their rental car.’
It isn’t just safety that is a long-term focus at Avis – investing in the environment has become a priority as well.
When companies book with Avis, they are offered the chance to make the rental more climate friendly. By ticking a box, Avis pays to have enough trees planted in a long-term woodland to soak up the carbon dioxide produced by the car rental. So far, Avis, its staff and customers have planted more than 70,000 trees to fight global warming. The firm has also introduced schemes to encourage alternative transport, under a new partnership with train booking service thetrainline.com.
When users book their rail tickets online they can also book their car hire through Avis.
Rail tickets can be booked online anywhere in the UK and thetrainline.com has mapped all Avis’ UK rental stations on their website, enabling customers to easily book the next leg of their journey by car.
The firm has also introduced a service offering rental of satellite navigation systems, and it was one of the first to develop flexible rental programmes including Urbigo, a rental system similar to a pay-as-you-go mobile phone.
Customers pay a membership fee and then pay just for the hours they use the car, thanks to hi-tech monitoring systems.
The firm has also developed MaxiRent, a flexible rental offering a bridge between daily rental and contract hire.
Stoolman said: ‘We are in the process of asking a lot of questions and doing a lot of work on quality evaluation.’