National app lets renters select specific car


National Car Rental has launched a mobile app that goes beyond just making and reviewing reservations.

The notable extras start when you land. Getting to your rental car sometimes requires a bus or a tram; in other airports a visit to an in-terminal counter or a parking lot booth. National’s app welcomes renters to the city and gives step-by-step directions to the cars.

National is known for letting members of its Emerald Club loyalty program who reserve a midsize car select their own vehicle. They just walk down the row and pick a Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Chrysler 200 or whatever other car strikes their fancy. But National can only offer that service at 62 airport locations that are secured by an employee who checks IDs at the exit.

Now with its app, National hopes to expand the service to many of its other 200 airport locations. After landing, renters can view real-time inventory and select a specific model. They can even pick the color. That car is then secured for 15 minutes. The first three airports with the system will be Omaha, Neb., Richmond, Va. and Tulsa, Okla., starting Sept. 30. National hopes to expand it to 25 locations by the end of the year.

The final unique feature of the app reminds people the day prior that their rental is ending and provides directions back to the lot.


Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at