Hertz Files For Bankruptcy, Floods Market With Cheap Used Cars

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The coronavirus continues to wreck havoc on businesses across the globe, and the latest victim hits a little close to home. Hertz, the 102-year-old rental car company, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after travel predictably skidded to a halt as the COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly across the world.

The Florida-based company tried to convince its lenders to give it another extension on its auto lease debt payments, but they declined, which triggered the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on Friday. By the end of March, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. had racked up $18.7 billion in debt with just $1 billion in available cash.

A trio of special-edition Hertz Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H
A trio of special-edition Hertz Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H

Regardless, Hertz intends to continue its operations, and its principal international operating regions and franchised locations are not included in the filing.

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For those carefully following the latest goings-on with Hertz, the second largest rental company in the U.S., it wasn’t terribly difficult to predict its collapse. Hertz was forced to shut down completely back in mid-March. With zero revenue coming in, it started missing lease payments by mid-April. In addition to cash, the company has been churning through leadership, naming its fourth CEO this past month in just six years.

Hertz Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H

Right after ceasing operations, Hertz took swift action to reserve funds, laying off 12,000 workers and furloughing 4,000 more. It also stopped all non-essential spending and cut its vehicle acquisitions by 90 percent. These moves were aimed to save the company a collective $2.5 billion per year, but it was too little, too late.

It’s terrible news for Hertz, which was founded in 1918 by Walter L. Jacobs, who started out in Chicago with a fleet of a dozen Ford Model Ts. But for those in the market for a used vehicle of some sort, Hertz’s bankruptcy also presented some pretty good opportunities.

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The bankrupt rental firm has flooded the market with thousands of vehicles from its fleet, and the prices are pretty good, as of this writing. We found quite a few units of the 2019-2020 Ford Mustang GT Premium for sale in the low $30k range, which is considerably less than MSRP. We also found several units of the 2019-2020 Ford F-150 XLT with less than 20,000 miles in the upper $20k range, which is also quite reasonable.

Of course, the cars that might tickle the fancy of many an enthusiast will be the various special edition Mustangs, such as the Shelby GT-H pictured here.

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Hopefully, this won’t be the end of the road for Hertz, as it tries to re-organize. But it’s yet another important reminder why businesses that don’t keep enough cash in reserves are in for some scary times if/when a crippling external force comes along to disrupt things, no matter how long it’s been in business.

We’ll have the latest on this as it develops, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford-related COVID-19 news and ongoing Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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4 Comments

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  1. The 2016 was a Hertz rental, but I did not think that the 2019 was ever in the Hertz inventory. I understood that the 2019 GT-H, while it looks like a Hertz, was not. I could be wrong. There was the Shelby GT-S for the Sixt rental fleet.

  2. So, did Hertz executives take a cut in salaries ? Sure, they can layoff and cut operation spending, but the salaries and benefit the executives get could be used to keep on employees working, they are the working class that make keep the company running.

  3. Wow the banks gave Trump 6 Bailouts and they didn’t want to help Hertz a 102 years old mayor American company. I would rather the government had help Hertz than Boeing. We have many planes, but cars put America on wheels. I would rather drive cross country in a rental car than get on any plane with many people with #19 virus brake out. This can hurt the New and Used vehicle market in sales which will hurt the American market

  4. I guess Hertz isn’t one of Trumps friends he help Boeing with $500 Million and Ruth Chris Steakhouse with $20 Million, What For ??? We don’t need No Planes and A whole lot of restaurants close that are smaller that didn’t get a dime. Trump needs to look back at who President Obama help 1st to get the economy that we have today

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