A National spokesman confirmed a sale is expected to be completed within two months. According to reports, National is expected to fetch more than $1 billion.
Domestic automakers acquired rental car companies during the late 1980s and used them as "a supplementary distribution system," said Jesse Snyder, a West Coast analyst for Autofacts, a West Chester, Pa.-based marketing consultancy.
GM also has a stake in Avis; Ford Motor Co. has stakes in Hertz Corp. and Budget Rent a Car Corp.; and Chrysler Corp. owns Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, Dollar Rent A Car Systems and Snappy Car Rental.
While sales stagnated, automakers maintained market share and kept factories operating by pumping cars into the rental system. But that put low-mileage used cars into the marketplace.
Detroit began backing off last year as retail sales began to rebound. The Big 3 moved 990,000 vehicles into rental companies in the 1994 model year, 29% fewer than '92, said Auto Rental News.
The sale of National to another car rental company could be bad news for W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., which picked up its estimated $20 million account earlier this year.