VW GolfTwo years ago, we introduced Select Series (originally called Choice Fleet) in the UK, to provide the opportunity to guarantee the make/model of the car you drive from a select range of vehicles. It is available at our most popular UK locations and gives customers an alternative to booking one of a number of different models within a specified car category.

I have been following the comments about Select Series on the blog with interest and have been delighted with all the great feedback, particularly on the blog post about introducing the Audi A4 and A6 to the Select Series. As we move into 2008 we are looking for your feedback again so you can help us shape what the Select Series will look like in the new year.

Any kind of feedback is welcome but in particular we are love to know what specific make/models would you most like to be able to book on the Select Series? At the moment we have the Peugeot 207 CC, the VW Golf, and the Audi A4 and A6 (A4 available as saloon and estate). Are these the right models to promote? Or have you spotted a car on our standard fleet that you would love to be able to guarantee? Amongst the cars we currently have on our standard fleet are the Renault Clio, Megane, Laguna, Grande Scenic and Espace; Peugeot 207, 307, 407 and 807; Ford Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo; VW Passat and Sharan; Fiat Grande Punto and Bravo; Vauxhall Vectra; and Mercedes C-Class and E-Class. Would you prefer to be able to guarantee any of these make/models over what is currently available on the Select Series? In addition, are there any models you would like Avis to consider and talk to manufacturers about outside of those we have listed?

I look forward to any thoughts you may have!

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35 Responses to “Feedback on Select Series”

  1. SteveTDCi Says:

    Having already booked a select car (207cc) for a holiday I find it great knowing exactly what you get when you check in. We toured through scotland and had the roof down at every oppotunity, I have been looking at replacing my current car ( golf GT TD) and was very keen to hire the A4 auto, which i’m sorry to say I never got around to. Reasons being, select is only avaialbe from airport branches and I presume supply is limited. It seems that more jire car companies are offering more choice when it comes to cars, one of your competitors (sorry !) seem to be targeting some of the current hot hatches, some of these you could consider ? obviously there are issues around having cars like this on the fleet.

    Cars I would probably like to see added, Alfa 159, Focus CC, Jaguar XF Ford Kuga/VW Tigran, Landrover Freelander, I’ll probably think of a few more later … !!!! the way I see it, when looking for a new car dealers are not always great at getting cars or giving you a long time with them, yes a few hours is fine but a weekend is better. Now to post something else about 1 way hires..

    Cheers
    Steve

  2. Robert Says:

    What a great Idea for a thread!
    Saw this yesterday but was too tired to post…
    Was hoping to be the first :-)
    Oh well…

    I think the current selection isn’t bad but could improve, and made a little more interesting…
    Steve suggested the 159, and that would be a great idea.
    Can’t see you offering the XF, as you would probably put that one in Avis Prestige, but Prestige cars tend to be very expensive.

    I would love to see a BMW 3 series, preferably a Diesel like the 320d.
    I am looking forward to the new A4 though!!!

    Slightly OT, you seem to have removed the 307CC from your fleet.
    Any plans to bring them back?
    I hired them often and really enjoyed it when the sun was shinning (happened every once in while…).
    The focusCC was mentioned above, a car I don’t really rate, although the new one is going to be much much better.

    I really do hope you bring it back.

    Talking of the CC, I think a more prestige Convertible would be nice in the Select fleet.
    Even something like the VW EOS.
    As mentioned above a 4×4 would be nice.
    Even if politically incorrect these days…

    I can’t really think of any cars in the normal range that I would want to pay more for in order to guarantee them.

    Anyway, these are my initial thoughts, and will post more when I think of them…

  3. Xavier Vallee - Head of Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the feedback. I was lucky enough to get in the passenger seat of a pre-production XF for a weekend and it’s a GREAT car (I know someone who works in the marketing team). I can’t say any thing more until their embargo is lifted.

    Jaguar don’t seem to want to give any car to the car hire industry these days. Never say never though and I would bet that Avis Prestige will buy a couple of XF SV8 for their fleet.

    Keep the comments coming! Any other feedback folks!?

  4. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Robert, Steve,

    Thanks for the great feedback and well done Steve for beating Robert to the first comment! ;)

    Steve – thanks for your suggestions and we’ll definitely take on board your comments on the hot hatches. If this is your thing then you might be interested in some of the car on our Avis Prestige fleet. Incidentally the Alfa 159 was something we were looking to add to Select Series last year but sadly it did not materialize. I’ll have to speak to Fleet and see if there are any plans to re-vitalise this. Keep the suggestions coming!

    Robert – great thoughts on the convertibles and the 4×4. I would interested to hear other customers thoughts on these. BMW is great suggestion but unfortunately it is a brand that does not generally work with car hire companies. But that is something we are always working on! :)

    With regards to the Peugeot 307 CC (which the Medium – Compact – Convertible group), there are a very limited number on fleet due to the weather so they may be very difficult to find and book. Hopefully we’ll be introducing more numbers as the weather brightens.

  5. Robert Says:

    Xavier,
    Jaguar might not be willing to give any cars to the car hire companies in the UK, but having going through TLV airport in the past couple of weeks I noticed a fleet of around 10 X-types just parked there.
    The second time I went through they were still there, and I was told they are too expensive so no one is hiring them.
    Clever isn’t it…

  6. Robert Says:

    Rob,
    In another thread you mention the next generation A4′s you are getting will no longer have built in Sat-Nav, that’s a shame, but I assume it has something to do with the fact that the current model has been offered with a very good price for the optional built in Sat-Nav while the new one will not.

    One thing I really think you should consider is making sure the Auto versions get Cruise control.
    It is a very cheap option, and one that people really appreciate when doing motorway driving.
    Any chance of leather?
    Stupid question… :-)

  7. Xavier Vallee Says:

    Robert,

    X-type are the same retail price as a C-Class or an A4 in the UK, so I’m sure you could have afforded one here, had we any to offer you!

    That being said, we’re really looking forward to offering our customers the new Mercedes C-Class and new Audi A4 in this segment. Both manufactures have done a superb job and have raised the bar.

    Xavier

  8. Robert Says:

    AUDI A4 S-LINE FEEDBACK:

    After just one day with the 2.0TDI Auto I picked up from the LHR office last night, I have already some feedback for you guys….

    The S-line suspension is a killer!

    Killer, as in it is killing my back :-)

    The S-line suspension is ridiculously hard, and you really feel every tiny bump in the road.
    In addition the seats are very firm as well, and all in all while it might be a sportier ride, with the hard suspension, and 18 inch wheels, it is far from a comfy one!

    I am already missing the Passat I had a couple of weeks ago!!!

    Don’t get me wrong, the car is nice, it is an Audi after all, and I do like them (drove an A8 for a while) but comfort wise this one isn’t great.

    I know the new A4 hasn’t an S-line planned yet, so can I assume the new A4′s you are getting will be SE’s?

    And I ask again, could we get some leather? Maybe? Please…? :-)

  9. Jeremy Says:

    Hi,
    Great blog!!!
    I have rented the select series a couple of time now, and it’s a nice idea to know what car I am going to get even if it costs a bit more.
    I too have rented the A4 Automatic and the one thing that was missing was cruise control which I really missed as I was traveling on the motorway a lot.
    Will you have this on the new model? as mentioned above it would be nice to have leather seats which make it feel more special and comfortable.
    Speaking of comfort, as mention above, I too found the A4 to be a little hard and seats not the most relaxing.
    I don’t know if it is to do with the spec of these cars as already mentioned?
    I also think it would be great to have the 3 series.
    As nice as the A4 may be it will never be as good to drive as a 320d.
    By the way are your 2 litter A4′S 140 or 170BHP?

    Another car you may want to consider is the Saab 9-3?

    Looking forward to reading more of the blog!

    Jeremy.

  10. Robert Says:

    I agree about the cruise control.
    Come on Avis, it’s a £160 option!
    Not exactly going to cause a huge dent in your balance sheet…

    Another nice touch would be rear parking sensors (I find front ones a waste of time), which again is not an expensive option.

    I think if you are taking away the Sat-Nav (which is a shame considering the new model will have a great screen on top of the dash board) at least give us something instead… :-)

    Following my idea for a slightly more up market Convertible then the 307/Focus CC etc for the Select series.
    How about the new A3 Convertible that is due next spring?
    It will be out just in time for the season when convertibles are relevant, and being an Audi, I believe you might not have too many problems getting a few?

    Regards,
    Robert

  11. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Robert, Jeremy again fantastic feedback. And Jeremy I’m glad you like the blog :)

    It’s really interesting reading your thoughts. I actually wasn’t expecting so much of the conversation to be about the spec of car and possible additional features. All great comments.

    There are some great suggestions on cars as well. The BMW 3 Series has had a couple of mentions now.

    With regards to your questions on the spec of the new Audi A4 (cruise control, leather, BHP), I am waiting to hear back from our Fleet team on this and I will give you the low-down as soon as I know more.

    Keep all the feedback coming. I will be attending a meeting to discuss Select Series for next year so I will ensure that all of your views are represented!

  12. andy Says:

    hi…just a little warning when booking via the web….you mite get a good quote..but when picking up u are asked for additional insurance cover…this pushes the quote up..so you don’t always get the original price! watch out for this as it can be as much as 40% extra!!!!!

  13. Danny Says:

    I rent from Avis at least once a month in England, when I come for business.
    Lately I have been booking the select series.
    I have driven the A4, A6, and the Golf. (but just once as I prefer Automatics)
    I thought the A4 was good, but like already mentioned, I missed Cruise control and leather seats (and a sunroof!) which would have made it feel more special, considering we pay more to get these cars.
    Saying that, I think I would not mind paying even a little more and having leather seats.
    I did like the fact that there was a CD changer in the car, rather then the normal single CD.

    I liked the A6 in general, and it had the luxuries, but found the 2.0 a little underpowered.
    It’s the same engine as the A4, yet a much heavier car.
    Maybe when you replace them (are you?) you should consider getting the larger TDI engine Audi do)
    Or maybe replacing it with something a little different like a Lexus? The GS300 is a nice car.
    The 3 series would be nice to have as well, and you could give people the option to have the A4 or 3 series for the same price.
    All in all, I am happy with Avis, and I do try and give you my business when possible, although you are not always the cheapest! (Except for Hertz, which are for some reason always more expensive then anyone else!!!!!)

  14. Robert Says:

    Andy,
    Your post is a little off topic for the subject we are discussing here, but to answer your question (even though I don’t work for Avis…) when booking on avis.co.uk it will quote you a price including insurances.
    However like any other rental company there are always additional insurances you can purchase like an extra insurance to cover the excess. Etc
    All the basic compulsory insurances are already included, and you are not asked to pay any extra insurance, but simply offered them as an option.
    If you book through avis.com however and state your country of residence as the US, then your quote will not include insurance which you can add while making the booking or when picking the car up.
    Reason for this is that many US credit card companies (as does the UK version of the Amex Charge card) include these insurances in your agreement and therefore you may not need to take these insurances out with the rental company.
    But it is still very clear when making the booking that these insurances such as CDW, TP etc are not included in this case.

  15. Robert Says:

    Following Danny’s comments above about proffering Auto’s, how about offering an Automatic Golf in the select series?
    Sometimes people want something smaller then say an A4, but a little more up market then a 307/Focus.
    Something like the 1.4 TSI or the 2.0TDI both come with the fantastic DSG gearbox.
    I would not recommend the 1.6 with the standard Auto box though.

    Only thing is I am not sure how you would fit it in price wise.
    The difference in price between the Auto 307′s and 407′s for instance is negligible (something like £4 difference for a week’s rental!) and that in itself is a problem.
    I think Avis should offer an Auto option for a more reasonable price.
    More and more people prefer going for an Auto’s and the UK market has changed in that way in the past few years.
    Renting an Auto is no longer a “luxury” and should not be treated as such price wise.
    Maybe some people don’t care too much about the price difference and just want something smaller, on which case there would be a case for offering an Auto Golf in the Select series.

    What ever happens, I hope the select prices which often (if not always) are very reasonable do not change.

    I mentioned previously that maybe a 4×4 should be considered, so how about the new VW Tiguan?

    Kind regards,
    Robert

  16. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Andy, Robert has answered this pretty well in his comment above. However, I’ve also posted my own response to your other comment regarding the same question in a separate blog post. Here is the link to the comment http://www.wetryharder.co.uk/?p=201#comment-2226

    Rob

  17. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Again more great feedback and more requests for Cruise control and leather seats, cheers Danny. Interesting points on the A6, a good suggestion on Lexus and yet another shout for the 3 Series. I’ll check with the Fleet team but I’m not sure how much Lexus are willing to deal with car hire companies as I’ve never seen a Lexus available to rent.

    With regards to some of the other questions posted on the blog… currently there are no plans for leather seats in the Audi A4 although the Audi A6 will be part leather. However, my colleagues in Fleet have assured me that no extras will be discounted if we can prove that it is interesting enough to enough of our customers… so keep the comments coming!

    Robert, as you intimated, the Audi A4 will initially be an SE. I am told by my fleet colleague that this is because the S-line was originally approved by Audi but the SE wasn’t. So they’ve decided to launch the original S-Line design as an SE and the design team has gone back to enhance what will eventually become the S-Line model!

    I’ll also pass on your feedback about a Golf auto. I guess some of it will come down to what manufacturers are able to offer an auto of this size and whether this is a big enough market for it. Have any of our other readers got a perspective on this?

    I’m still trying to find out about cruise control but I’l let you know when I hear anything.

  18. Robert Says:

    Rob,
    When the new A4 comes into the fleet in April, will it replace all the old models, or are some of the old ones going to be around for a while?
    Also, I assume that when you said the Manuel A4 is going to be a 2.0TDI rather then the 1.9, you meant when the new models come out? (Since there will be no 1.9 at the moment, and hopefully, never!!!!) Or are you getting some of the current model in a Manuel 2.0 version?

    As to the remarks I and others have made about leather cruise control etc, as nice as it would be, I don’t really expect Avis to offer leather in the A4.
    It’s not a cheap option, and financially Avis probably could not justify it, but then I don’t know exactly how the whole purchasing/financing route works in your industry.
    Cruise control on the other hand is a cheap (less then £200) option, and a very useful one, especially in rental cars, which Avis really should not have a problem getting Audi to add.
    To be honest, I think it is very cheap of Audi not to offer this in the A4’s as standard anyway, but then it is typical of the stingy German car manufacturers.

    Another thing to consider is, that if Avis sell off their cars afterwards (rather then returning them to the manufacturer) it also makes a hell of a lot of sense to get this option, as buyers would expect it.

    As to the A6, you say it will have partial leather? But don’t the current A6′s you have got full leather?
    I think in a car like that not having leather is a massive mistake.
    The E280′s you have on the (normal) fleet have cloth interior, and after hiring them a couple of times, all I can say is it makes the car feel cheap considering what it is.
    And I must say I have rented cars like this from other rental companies in the past, and cars at this level have always had leather interior.
    Come to thing of it, even cars like this I have rented from Avis worldwide have had leather interiors.

    Rob, in general, I know Avis will probably not make decisions based on a few blogers here.
    But you are not going to get hundred of opinions here, just a few but they are a few that obviously represent what your general customers (the frequent customers anyway) want.

    Kindest regards,
    Robert

  19. Xavier Vallee -Head of Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Robert

    Thanks for your feed back.

    Avis runs cars for approximately 6 months, so there will be a crossover of old and new model Audi A4′s. Also we are carrying out discussions with Audi at this moment in time as to what we are getting next year, so could have some manual 2.0 TDIs on the A4 SE on fleet.

    In respect to the features in the cars we have to balance what you (the customers) want with the features that will sell in the used car market. From what I understand the seats in the current A6′s actually have a cloth/leather mix and this is what we intend to get, but don’t hold me to that. Also the in my eyes the S-line seat is very attractive and it is hard to notice that is not full leather. On the subject of leather seats we do have leather in all of our E Class Avantgardes.

    As has been previously mentioned all of this feedback is invaluable. While we may not get the biggest sample of customers we actually see this as more of a “focus group” and separately we had a questionnaire go to all recent Select Series customers who are members of our e-newsletter.

    Xavier

  20. Robert Says:

    Hi Xavier,
    Are you not off already for Xmas like Rob…?

    Yes I know the extras you guys will order with the car need to be a balance taking into account the used market, which is what I mentioned above as well.
    It my opinion (and I do know a little about the used car market) cruise control is something very basic these days, that buyers of these cars are looking for, and considering the cost is low (less then £200) it is an option well worth considering.
    Leather on the other hand, as I also mentioned would be nice, but then not essential, and considering it is a £1500 option (plus minus) I can understand Avis may not see it to be worth while financially.

    I assume when you talk about the S-line seats you are talking about the A6?
    Since the A4 S-line (which I have been driving now for a week and enjoying) has no leather at all…

    As to the E class, when I rented one a few months back, it was brand new E280 and no leather…

  21. Xavier Vallee Says:

    Hi Robert,

    I’m not on holidays yet! I always tell Rob and my team that everything in life is a question of balance, and priorities. We buy a few hundreds Audis, so the £200 quickly add up! I’m sure that our fleet team and Audi will take your comments into account and balance costs against revenue opportunities and get our customers the best mix of options :)

    I was referring to the A6 S-Line indeed. I’m actually driving one as the moment and it’s a very good car.

  22. Tony Hufford Says:

    I did not know of this service. Before my visits to England I have often called your desk at Newcastle Airport to try and get specific vehicles onlty to be told that they couldn’t be guaranteed. Is this different now as I have already made a booking for May 08 and would like a Megane Scenic diesel, or a Golf diesel.
    Thanks,
    Tony Hufford

  23. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Tony, good question! The Select Series is currently limited to rentals at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted plus the airports in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh and our Mayfair location in Central London. This is largely due to the limited supply of Select Series cars and stretching this fleet across many locations would make it difficult to guarantee the car is at the right place at the right time – which would defeat the object of the product!

    However, you raise a good point. Location is something that has not been raised on this blog post. At the moment the Select Series locations have been predominantly determined by how many rentals that location does. However, I’d be interested to know whether there are some locations that are a glaringly obvious place for offering Select Series cars that we might have missed. Of course, as I said above, we can’t service everywhere but there is no harm in trying to gauge a bit of feedback!

  24. SteveTDCi Says:

    I don’t see a real reason why hire cars need to be specced to meet a customers requirements, if hiring a car i’m glad that it has 4 wheels, although after hiring a car from a different hire company i’m actually surprised it had 4 wheels !! Hire cars are just that, something to get you from a-b although I do think there may be a market for you to advertise within specific car forums, I know there are several Audi clubs and many people ask questions, when they could just hire one, it could also be worth approaching audi dealers as they never have anything to drive. Of course this doesn’t have to be limited to Audi.

    With regards to cruise, if anyone does buy an A4 ( or 3 for that matter ) it can be retrofitted for less than audi charge as an option. It hinkt he days of cheap hire cars are covered by everyone, nowadays to get anywhere you have to have specific products and Select is one that is good.

  25. Tony Hufford Says:

    With regard to cars of special need, I need a car that is easy for me to get my elderly mother into and out of. This is why I try to get a Renault Scenic diesel, but have only been lucky once so far.

  26. Robert Says:

    I disagree (suprise suprise) with SteveTDCi remarks about a hire car just being a car to get you from a-b.
    Perhaps if you are renting for a day or two it is less important to you what you get, but when renting for a week or two it does matter.
    Fact is there are different groups of cars, cheap and expensive cars, basic and luxury cars for a reason, and people choose to hire an A4 over say a Vectra, and pay more for it because they want something nicer to drive around in, may it be for business or pleasure.
    Otherwise there would indeed be no market for this, and all the rent a car companies would have to do is supply the most basic and cheapest cars in each size class.

  27. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Interesting, thank you for your input Tony. Would our mini-people carrier group do the job for you? As well as the Grand Scenic the group includes other mini-mpvs such as the Zafira and the C4. It might help you guarantee what you are looking for.

    Let me know what you think.
    Rob

  28. Tony Hufford Says:

    Thanks for the reply Rob but I don’t understand what you are talking about. Could you please explain further with idiot proof instructions.

  29. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Sorry for my cryptic reply Tony!

    I assumed that because you were looking for a Renault Scenic, you were essentially looking for a mini-mpv sized car. The best way to guarantee this type of car is to look for the car category called “Large : People Carrier (Example of this range : Renault Grand Scenic 1.6)” which will be in the list of different car categories when you get a quote on our website. This group includes the Renault Grand Scenic which is essentially the same as a Renault Scenic but with two fold seats, helping to bolster the number of seats to 7. Other cars in this category are the Mazda 5 and Vauxhall Zafira – all of which are mini-mpv sized vehicles.

    Of course the information I’ve provided here is for the UK. If you are looking outside of the UK then the car categories maybe different. Let me know if this is the case and I’ll find out the information you need (and let me know if I need to be any better with my explanation!).

    Rob

  30. Tony Hufford Says:

    Thanks again for your reply. I don’t need a 7 passenger vehicle, just one thats easy to get into and out of. I’ve already booked a vehicle for pick up at Newcastle Airport, so unless this is added to your selected sites I will just have to take what is there.

  31. Paul Says:

    I’m defecting from [a competitor] next week and having registered for Avis Preferred I believe it’s almost the ‘jump in and drive’ offer by your [competitor's] #1 Gold card. The big difference was where-as [the competitor's] prices go up when logging on the the website, Avis were (correctly) cheaper and hence the booking for the Select A4. I drive one at home, but not much so it will be nice to use and price wise was similar to the Ford I rent (but rarely get) from [the competitor]. So all in all, Select is a great idea, although why I hadn’t seen it before, it travelling frequently until Nov is a surprise, the only grumble I have is the difference in price between the auto and manual.

  32. Robert Says:

    So…any news yet on what spec the new A4 will be getting?
    Will be an SE obviously as that’s the only spec they will be offering to start with, but have you guys considered what some of us have said regarding the Cruse control or other extras?

    Also, any idea when the first cars are due to arrive?

    Regards,
    Robert

  33. Robert Says:

    Just to add to the above, I am intrigued as to what the plan is regarding the new A4 Auto.
    It seems that at launch in Feb they are only going to be offering a Manuel 6 speed with the 2.0TDI, and an Auto as standard with the 2.7TDI.

    I assume Avis have no plans to get the 2.7, and so I was wondering, are you going to replace the 1.9 Manuals with the new 2.0TDI, and leave the old 2.0 Auto’s around until they come out with a new one?
    Any inside info as to when that may be?

    If that is going to be the case, it would mean the Manuel version you would offer, would be a far more advanced car then the Auto…

    Regards,
    Robert

  34. Rob White- Marketing, Avis UK Says:

    Hi Robert, good, insightful questions as always! I just spoke to my colleague in fleet about this. He does not yet know when the 2.0 auto’s are coming out but September onwards seems realistic. You’re right though, there will be a period when the manual version will be a newer model than the auto version. That’s the way Audi have decided to release them and we wouldn’t want to deprive our customers of renting the new A4 manual while we wait for the auto to come out :) And of course the current Audi A4 is still a very good car!

  35. Robert Says:

    Yes the current A4 is a good car indeed.
    Been driving it for a few weeks now, and after getting over the initial shock of the hard sports suspension of the S-line, I think its a great car.
    Not as good to drive as a 3 series but no very far off, and at least they are not as common!!!

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