AUTOMOBILES: If They Rent, They May Buy

If They Rent, They May Buy

For automakers, owning a rental-car company is a great way to showcase products. Ford has already bought into Hertz, General Motors is allied with Avis, and Chrysler owns Thrifty. Now a foreign manufacturer is getting into the act. Last week Mitsubishi Motors became the first Japanese owner of a U.S. agency when it bought control of Value Rent-A-Car for an undisclosed sum. Mitsubishi currently supplies 10% of Value's 20,000-car fleet, a share that will rise to 85% by year's end. After the agency has used the cars, it will turn them over to the company's dealer network for resale. And Mitsubishi...

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