Link: History of National Car Rental System, Inc. – FundingUniverse

History of National Car Rental System, Inc. – FundingUniverse

National Car Rental System, Inc. (or National Interrent, the corporate tagline), is one of the foremost car rental businesses in the world. Privately held National features vehicles made by General Motors (which owns an 81.5 percent share in the company) and functions as a leading partner–with Tilden Interrent, Europcar Interrent, and Nippon Interrent–of the Interrent network, with more than 5,000 rental locations in 130 countries. Over the years, National has bounced from owner to owner, but perhaps no transition proved as unsettling as the leveraged buyout (LBO) engineered by former National chairman Vincent A. Wasik in 1986. Ultimately forced out by GM executives in 1992, Wasik left the company as it was losing market share and $100 million annually. National was still in the midst of turning itself around in 1994.

National was formed in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 27, 1947, by 24 independent car rental operators who hoped to broaden their market influence by teaming together. Among the original owners was Joe Saunders, who is generally credited with launching the car rental business back in 1916. One of National’s most important early moves was the international service agreement it formed with Tilden Interrent, the largest and oldest Canadian car rental firm, in 1959. Two years later National’s headquarters were moved to Jackson, Mississippi, when a Minneapolis-based investment group took charge of the corporation. In 1965 National relocated to Minneapolis and was a less-than-promising, seven-employee operation with $12 million in annual revenues and $2.77 million in losses.

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