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Enterprise to rent Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Vegas

EnterpriseHDEnterprise Rent-A-Car announced today that it will be the first major car rental agency to rent motorcycles in the USA.

The two-wheelers will be available for rental only from a facility in Las Vegas, where Enterprise hopes to woo enthusiasts who want to visit nearby attractions like the Strip, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, by motorcycle.

“When you go to Las Vegas, you will see motorcycles everywhere” says Dave Nestor, Enterprise’s senior vice president, West Coast Operations. He says the move was largely driven by customer demand: “With the number of tourists that hit that marketplace every year and the weather (being) so nice, a lot of people like to see the countryside on motorcycle.” Enterprise is banking on the rising popularity of motorcycle purchases. Last year, motorcycle sales climbed nearly 3 percent to 450,000 over 2011.

Enterprise will have a fleet of Harley-Davidson bikes. Those who rent them must be licensed to drive a motorcycle, and Enterprise will provide helmets to the renters and their passengers at no extra cost, so that drivers are in compliance with Nevada helmet laws.

The bikes will go for $120 to $160 a day, comparable to an entry-level rental in the company’s Exotic Car Collection or a large SUV, according to the company. Enterprise will offer discounted weekly rates. The Enterprise fleet includes five models: Street Glide, Road Glide Custom, Electra Glide Classic, Electra Glide Ultra Limited and Road Glide Ultra. By the end of the year, the company will add Heritage Softail Classic and Fat Boy Lo models to the fleet.

If the Las Vegas pilot effort is successful, Enterprise may start renting motorcycles elsewhere in the USA, though that’s unlikely to happen soon.

“I’m confident we’ll do well with it,” Nestor says. “But it is different, and we want to make sure we do it well. I’d certainly want to see a full year’s cycle … to understand what the business model looks like.”

Neil Abrams, president of the Abrams Consulting Group, which serves the car rental industry, says there is a need for companies to find new income streams and ways to stand out from the crowd.

“That’s the name of the game, taking a brand … and building new offerings,” he says. “The major rental companies all have the same cars, so they kind of look the same. They feel the same.”

“We chose to pilot motorcycle rental in Las Vegas because we saw an opportunity to serve a large segment of travelers who are interested in renting motorcycles ” Enterprise Vice President Steve Short said in a statement. “We will continue to listen to our customers and announce plans for future growth based on that feedback.”

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