The life of the PT Cruiser is finally coming to an end as far as the car rental industry is concerned. This is actually music to most business travellers’ ears, as most end up getting stuck with a PT Cruiser instead of actually choosing it.
The PT Cruiser was a popular seller for Chrysler at one time. When the car first came out, it was marketed by Chrysler as a “sporty wagon.” During its lifecycle, Chrysler was able to sell over 1.4 million of these cars. In fact, when it first came out back in 2000, it was actually Chrysler’s top selling car. Unfortunately for the car manufacturer, it was unable to keep the popularity of this car at its height for too long. Due to this, many PT Cruisers sat at dealerships unable to be sold. To help move this inventory, many of these PT Cruisers ended up being sold to car rental companies at a discounted price.
Since companies like Hertz and Enterprise were able to get these cars at such a cheap price, they ended up using a lot of these cars to fill their car “quota,” even if it was an unpopular choice. Most business travellers felt that the car did not have a professional feel, and was always a last resort.
The real question is: Why was the PT Cruiser so unpopular for car hire companies? There must have been other things wrong with the car than just its un-professional look. The truth of the matter was that there are many things about these cars that make them unpopular. For example, the car fairs rather poorly in crash tests. Unless people want to drive an unsafe car, this reason alone would make the car extremely unpopular.
Of course, it was more than just poor crash test ratings that made this car unpopular. The PT Cruiser is said to be slow at acceleration and to have a very wide turning radius. With so many other great cars to choose from, it’s easy to see why these features would keep the car from remaining popular.
Industry experts say, however, that it was most likely the federal court case, about the two California sisters that were killed after their PT Cruiser rental caught fire, that was the final nail in the coffin for this model car. That particular model PT Cruiser had been recalled for power steering leaks. Despite this, Enterprise was still renting the cars out. In the end, Enterprise did admit “wrongdoing” and was ordered to pay the parents of the victims close to $15 million.
This negative press could have been avoided had car rental companies simply took care of the recalls before renting them to consumers. Either way, the PT Cruiser was never really able to shake this stigma, and rentals for the PT Cruiser in America soon suffered. However, rentals for this car had already been suffering in other areas of the world by being outshined by other, more reliable rentals.
Of course, this phasing out is to be expected. In order to keep up with changing demand, car hire companies from all over the world have to contentiously phase out certain makes and models of cars in order to make room for newer cars.