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GM’s in-vehicle tech streamlines rental experience for business travelers

Connected vehicles represent one of the most exciting, recent technological advancements designed to make frequent travelers’ lives easier on the road.

National is proud to be part of this tech trend. Enterprise Holdings, which owns and operates National, recently partnered with General Motors to increase the number of connected vehicles in the company’s fleet to 100,000 by the end of 2019.

The initiative will make renting and returning vehicles faster by automating tasks like checking fuel levels, vehicle condition and odometer readings. Connected vehicles will come with the latest tech for personalized driving experiences, including Apple CarPlay®Android Auto and OnStar® . They’ll also include features like emergency services, crisis assistance, automatic crash response and remote lock/unlock to add an additional level of convenience and safety.

The bottom line: more speed, choice and control for road warriors.

John McFarland, GM’s Director of Global Digital Experience and Connected Vehicles, spoke with tech expert and host of National’s Technically Speaking, Andru Edwards, at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) about this partnership and the importance of automotive innovation.

Tech expert Andru Edwards interviews General Motors' John McFarland at CES 2019.

A Faster Rental Experience

Increasing the number of connected vehicles in Enterprise Holdings’ fleet means “a truly differentiated experience for the business traveler,” McFarland said, noting customers can remotely connect with their car while renting and don’t have to wait to check out when they return their vehicle.

“If your car is connected and knows exactly how far you drove and knows how much gas you use, as soon as you pull in to return it, you just get out of your car and you go,” he said. “It may seem like minutes but saving minutes as a business traveler adds up over time. Anything we can do with our partners to minimize the amount of frustration, the amount of friction in the process, the more we're able to streamline their experience, the better. We think that we have a really powerful platform to enable that.

“We're very excited about the partnership, and I believe it's something that will truly make a difference for National’s consumers.”

The Connected Cadillac

Specifically, McFarland noted that Cadillac’s connected technology, which is available in vehicles today, offers travelers a lot of choice, allowing them to add services or applications any time directly inside the rental vehicle, and then simply disconnect when they return it.

“If they want Wi-Fi in the car, they can add that instantaneously from the dash. If they like the Wall Street Journal, they can download that to the car and listen to their favorite podcasts any time they want,” he said. “Another example we have is a service called Marketplace. If you're in your Cadillac, you can order your favorite coffee with one touch of the dash. If you're pulling into a gas station, you can actually pay for your gas right at the pump without ever having to swipe a credit card.”

The Future

GM launched the world’s largest rollout of 4G LTE connected cars four years ago at CES and now has the most connected vehicles on the road anywhere in the world, McFarland says.

“We're continuing to show the evolution of what we believe the future of the connected car looks like,” he said. “We saw the need to be able to innovate at the speed of digital rather than at the speed of traditional automotive. It all comes back to having a high-speed, reliable, connected network to be able to do that. We now have about five times more connected vehicles on the road than anyone else in the industry. This isn't technology for technology's sake. We're doing this because we believe it can really make a difference in the lives of individuals and make their experience even just a little bit better every day.”