Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based DTG Heads Fleet Away from Chrysler

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based DTG Heads Fleet Away from Chrysler

Article excerpt

The company Chrysler made will soon drive away.

Vehicles manufactured by the struggling Detroit manufacturer comprise only 30 percent of 2010 fleet purchases by Tulsa-based Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, the company announced Monday.

That compares to 85 percent a year ago, reflecting levels held since Chrysler formed Dollar Thrifty in 1990, spinning it off seven years later.

Ford - historically the mainstay of DTG competitor Hertz - drew 34 percent of Dollar Thrifty's 90,000-vehicle fleet orders for 2010. General Motors followed Chrysler with 20 percent, marking what could be an increase in exposure for the maker of Chevrolet and Cadillac, while Nissan drew 6 percent. Cars ordered from Hyundai, Kia and other manufacturers comprised the last 10 percent.

"We believe the diversification of our fleet suppliers makes Dollar Thrifty a more stable employer for Tulsa, while also providing our customers with the broadest selection of products to serve their rental needs," DTG Chief Executive Scott L. Thompson said Monday via e-mail. "As a former subsidiary of Chrysler, this really is a milestone in the company's long and rich history."

Even when Dollar Thrifty made its first secondary supplier agreement with Ford in February, some analysts and company officials doubted Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep vehicles would ever account for less than 75 percent of the rental car company's fleet.

But those options changed as Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler headed into bankruptcy, leading Dollar Thrifty to lower its exposure to the ailing firm. Both Chrysler and General Motors emerged from bankruptcy protection in early summer.

"It's a step in the right direction," said M. "Jake" Dollarhide, chief executive of the Tulsa securities firm Longbow Asset Management. "To have Ford as the company with the most purchases frankly looks good. It paints a good picture with customers, the people who will rent these cars. Those are the folks that matter."

Thompson, who replaced Gary Paxton as Dollar Thrifty CEO one year ago Tuesday, said this strategy mitigates the company's inventory risks.

Since Dollar Thrifty intends to maintain a 100,000-car fleet, retiring vehicles after they gain 40,000 to 50,000 miles, the 2010 fleet order breakdown will soon approximate DTG's total fleet composition, spokesman Chris Payne said. …

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