Hertz is  Selling 20,000 electric vehicles to buy Gasoline Cars
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Hertz is Selling 20,000 electric vehicles to buy Gasoline Cars

Hertz, which has made a big push into electric vehicles in recent years, has decided it’s time to cut back. The company will sell off a third of its electric fleet, totaling roughly 20,000 vehicles, and use the money it brings to purchase more gasoline-powered vehicles.

Electric vehicles have been hurting Hertz’s financials, executives have said, because, despite costing less to maintain, they have higher damage-repair costs and, also, higher depreciation.

“[C]ollision and damage repairs on an EV can often run about twice that associated with a comparable combustion engine vehicle,” Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr said in a recent analyst call.

“The MSRP declines in EVs over the course of 2023, driven primarily by Tesla, have driven the fair market value of our EVs lower as compared to last year, such that a salvage creates a larger loss and, therefore, greater burden,” Scherr said.

Simply put, people are generally willing to pay a certain amount less for a used car than for a new one. As the price of a new car goes down, that also pushes down what people are willing to pay to buy a used one.

Hertz expects to take a loss of about $245 million due to depreciation on the EVs, an average of about $12,250, per vehicle the company said in an SEC filing.

While Hertz isn’t directly pointing a finger, it appears that Tesla has been largely to blame.

Tesla makes up about 80% of Hertz’s EV fleet, and, altogether, EVs make up about 11% of Hertz’s total rental fleet. Tesla has been aggressively cutting its vehicle prices leading other automakers to do the same for their electric vehicles. When automakers reduce the prices of new vehicles, that pushes down the value of those models in the used car market, causing rapid depreciation.

For rental car companies like Hertz, which sell lots of vehicles in the used car market, depreciation has a big impact on their business and is a major factor when deciding which cars to have in their fleets.