In a blockbuster deal that is sure to have significant effects on the consumer rental car market, Hertz has bought Dollar/Thrifty in a $1.2 billion takeover. Hertz will regain its title as the largest rental car firm with this buyout.

From a consumer traveler’s point of view, the pending results of this merger are murky. This combination of Hertz together with Dollar/Thrifty would link a company that has been known for some of the most expensive rental car prices together with a group that normally offered some of the least expensive rentals.

From a consumer’s point of view it seemed that Hertz focused on business travelers and Dollar/Thrifty marketed to the leisure market and families. Building a new brand image will be a challenge.

Perhaps Hertz will keep the companies operating under two separate brands here in the U.S. and combine brands overseas.

CNN noted: Hertz CEO Mark Frissora said in a statement that Dollar Thrifty was an “excellent strategic fit” and that the addition of its network will help Hertz extend its foothold in Europe and other international markets.

In whatever corporate direction this Hertz/Dollar/Thrifty combination moves, consumers have just seen a consolidation of companies in the rental car space. Whenever competition disappears, it never bodes well for consumers.

Photo: stevendamron, Flickr Creative Commons