Sixt Rent-a-car is the second-biggest car rental company in Europe but entered the U.S. market only in 2011.
But the German multinational rental company — with a decided Teutonic flair — has grown so fast that it is now the fourth-largest car rental company in the U.S., with five locations in Los Angeles County. Its fleets feature high-end American cars, as well as Mercedes and BMWs.
Sixt operates 52 outlets around the country and maintains a U.S. fleet of about 20,000 cars. The company ranks fourth in the U.S. based on its reported annual revenue of $366 million last year, according to the trade publication Auto Rental News.
But it looks as if Sixt has a long way to go to unseat any of the three biggest car rental companies in the U.S.
Enterprise Holdings, which includes the brands Alamo, Enterprise and National, holds the title as the nation's biggest car rental company. It has a fleet of about 1.2 million cars and annual revenue of $16.2 billion last year, according to company data.
In second place is Hertz, which operates the brands Dollar and Thrifty. Hertz has reported a fleet of 485,000 cars and annual revenue of about $6 billion last year. Avis comes in third place with a fleet of 350,000 cars and $5 billion in revenue last year.
"They would have to grow pretty big to overcome Avis," Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News, said of Sixt.
Alexander Sixt, the global chief administrative officer and fourth-generation Sixt executive, attributes the company's growth to providing better service and higher-quality cars than his competitors.
In an interview, he said his goal is not to try to overtake one of the biggest U.S. car rental companies. Instead, he said he wants to gain a foothold in the nation's 30 biggest airports and serve travelers with a taste for high-end cars.
"My grandfather told me 'Don't focus on what the other guys are doing,'" Sixt said, referring to Hans Sixt, who took over the company in 1927 from his uncle and company founder, Martin Sixt.