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Hertz has profitable role to play in ride-hailing, CEO says

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

The rental-car business isn't dead and working with ride-hailing companies will actually offset any market share lost to them, Hertz Global Holdings Inc.'s chief executive officer said.

"We don't see ride hailing as an enemy," CEO Kathy Marinello said on a conference call with analysts Friday. "It is profitable for us and I see it being growth area for the next several years."

Hertz already makes money providing older cars in its fleet to drivers working for ride-hailing services like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., Marinello said. It has also been opening new locations catering specifically to ride-share drivers and partnering with auto-repair shop Pep Boys to inspect, certify and repair their vehicles. Pep Boys, Lyft and Hertz share an investor in billionaire activist Carl Icahn.

Meanwhile, short-term rentals vulnerable to competition from Uber or Lyft make up just 5 to 7 percent of Hertz's rental volume, Marinello said.

"As the saying goes, hold your friends close and your enemies closer," she said. "We want to work with them, meet those needs and take advantage of getting more out of an asset that I think we've turned too quickly in this business."

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