The economic slowdown caused by stay-at-home orders across the country has naturally led to a drastic reduction in travel, particularly work-related travel. That means that business has been tough for rental car company Hertz, which is poised on the brink of bankruptcy.
Bloomberg reports that Hertz just got a little bit of breathing room, as it now has until May 22 to find around $400 million to pay holders of its asset-backed securities (ABS). Hertz’s largest bank lenders, Deutsche Bank and Barclays, are in discussions to determine whether Hertz should sell more of its assets to pay the ABS or file for bankruptcy. The timing of the cars hitting the market may be critical, but it seems that any large sell-off in the next few weeks would flood the already depressed used-car marketplace.
Hertz has recently placed dozens of 2019 Corvette Z06 models into Hertz Car Sales lots across the country, each one equipped with an eight-speed automatic. It’s easy to identify a Hertz Z06 by its bright yellow paint with twin black stripes and the lack of front splitter. Perhaps there’s a storage locker somewhere filled with pristine splitters that were removed before they could be curbed by first-time Corvette drivers.
With or without the splitter, these Z06s were the most potent high-performance car you were likely to find at a Hertz counter and entered the fleet to celebrate the car rental company’s 100th anniversary. We spotted around 25 at Hertz dealers when we did a nationwide search, and saw another for sale for an undisclosed amount in Las Vegas. With 12,000–25,000 miles on the odometer, the 650-horsepower Corvettes are listed for $57,394–$63,999. That seems like quite a steal, but it’s also likely that any garden-variety rental that goes up for sale would be an even bigger discount.
We hope that Hertz can weather this storm, as it has had a history of providing engaging rental cars for enthusiasts, from ski-ready Sting Rays to the Shelby GT350H and the recent Hendrick Motorsports Camaros. The next few weeks should tell the tale.