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The demise of free satellite radio in AVIS rentals: "AVIS Blast"

The demise of free satellite radio in AVIS rentals: "AVIS Blast"

Old Aug 1, 10, 8:31 pm
  #1  
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The demise of free satellite radio in AVIS rentals: "AVIS Blast"

So, last week mid-way through the week my 2010 Ford Taurus's Sirius stopped working, and all channels said, "unauthorized channel". Went and picked up a car tonight, and my 2011 Hyundai Sonata's XM Radio all says, "unauthorized channel".

Went inside and asked the rental agent what the deal is, and she said starting last week, AVIS deactivated all of their Sirius/XM radios in their car, and they were starting to rent portable units, similar to the Garmin Where2 units that they rent for GPS. She said that none of their cars in the future would have free "in-dash" satellite radio and if I wanted it, it was an extra $5 a day... but my location (Syracuse) didnt get the portable radios yet.

So I come home, and google this, and low-and-behold, I come across this link for a new service called AVIS Blast:

http://www.rbr.com/radio/26217.html and
http://www.avis.com/xmblast

Looks like the rental agent is right... $5 a day, or $20 for the week, and no more free satellite radio...
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Old Aug 1, 10, 8:47 pm
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How disappointing, but from a business perspective I can see where they're going to "nickel and dime" us like the airline industry.

However, IMO, the bigger issue is that it now means that the steering wheel buttons will NOT work for shuffling through your favorite stations. Just one or two accidents because the driver was looking down at the onyX unit will wipe away A LOT of $5 charges. I also wish the didn't de-activate all the cars before this is available at most stations.

Last edited by IAHtraveler; Aug 1, 10 at 9:08 pm
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Old Aug 1, 10, 10:53 pm
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FEH. Looks like the iPod is getting pressed back into service on those long drives.
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Old Aug 2, 10, 9:32 am
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I can ujnderstand it if SIRIUSXM doesnt want to play ball in pricing. And they dont. I had 3 radios that I paid yearly for a very long time. I gave up on them after 2 price hikes and more down the pike, along with more ads and dropping my fav stations.
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Old Aug 2, 10, 10:09 am
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After further thought... maybe it should be offered for free to CHM/Pres Club members? Kinda like how the airlines throw their top-tier elites a bone or two, after they started charging the general population for it (checked bags, standby fees, reward ticket changes, etc).
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Old Aug 2, 10, 12:15 pm
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Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
AVIS deactivated all of their Sirius/XM radios in their car, and they were starting to rent portable units, similar to the Garmin Where2 units that they rent for GPS. She said that none of their cars in the future would have free "in-dash" satellite radio and if I wanted it, it was an extra $5 a day... but my location (Syracuse) didnt get the portable radios yet.
The one and only perk I enjoy when getting a substandard car (KIA or Hyundai) was having free satellite radio. I understand from the business stand point that this needs to be done but at least keep them in the premium class of cars. Don't start cutting corners as there are at least three other car rental companies we can go to.
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Old Aug 2, 10, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by NYCTaximan View Post
Don't start cutting corners as there are at least three other car rental companies we can go to.
What other companies have free satellite radio in their cars? Is it more than the typical "Free 3-months"?
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Old Aug 2, 10, 7:44 pm
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Originally Posted by NYCTaximan View Post
The one and only perk I enjoy when getting a substandard car (KIA or Hyundai) was having free satellite radio. I understand from the business stand point that this needs to be done but at least keep them in the premium class of cars. Don't start cutting corners as there are at least three other car rental companies we can go to.
It's funny - I suppose we all have different definitions of 'substandard' rentals - after getting, in reasonably close succession, Kia Amanti, Chevy Impala & Buick LaCrosse, I would sooner think of GM products as substandard over Kia & Hyundai. (The possible exception being the Saturn Astra, only because I know it's Opel/Vauxhall roots.)
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Old Aug 2, 10, 7:45 pm
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Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
What other companies have free satellite radio in their cars? Is it more than the typical "Free 3-months"?
I'm curious to know if Avis is going to order the manufacturers/dealers to deliver the vehicles with the radios inactive. My impression was that the satellite radios were activated on delivery of the vehicle...
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Old Aug 3, 10, 8:49 am
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This is certainly a challenge to the posters who said they would be willing to pay for satellite radio if only Avis were smart enough to provide it. Your move.

As for disabling satellite radio in vehicles where the radio is standard and the vehicle within the free subscription trial period, I have no inside info but I could see Avis doing this to protect the rental radio revenue stream.
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Old Aug 3, 10, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
As for disabling satellite radio in vehicles where the radio is standard and the vehicle within the free subscription trial period, I have no inside info but I could see Avis doing this to protect the rental radio revenue stream.
I'm in a 2011 Hyundai Sonata this week, with a manufacturing date of 5/11/2010, so I know this puppy is less than 3 months old, and thus should have a free subscription still valid.

Guess what... The satellite radio still says, "unauthorized channel"... so they've disabled the free subscription...
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Old Aug 3, 10, 4:04 pm
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Does every carmaker offer the free trial? I know Ford does, and I think GM does, but I don't know about Hyundai...
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Old Aug 3, 10, 9:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Critic View Post
Does every carmaker offer the free trial? I know Ford does, and I think GM does, but I don't know about Hyundai...
Yup, every manufacturer with satellite radio gives a free trial for new cars. It used to be 12 months, but most have cut it back to 3 or 6 months in the last 12-18 months.
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Old Aug 4, 10, 8:16 pm
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But does the XM/Sirius ever actually sound good? I've gotten it free in several different Avis cars (typically compacts or midsize), and every time it has sounded like a bad Real Audio computer feed ("swishing"/"phasing" kinds of effects that really detract from listening for me), like the bit rate being processed is a bit too low. But these have been in different places in the country, and I don't understand why there'd be the same reception problem each place. So, given that I've never heard it sounding better (in cars), I wonder if it ever does???

And these audio artifacts I noticed were so annoying, I'd never want to pay for XM/Sirius if I couldn't be assured it would sound much better.

I'm not asking for CD-quality sound, I'm just asking for it sounding reasonably close to a typical FM station in good reception range. Which it didn't come close to because of the intrusion of these artifacts...
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Old Aug 4, 10, 8:25 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
But does the XM/Sirius ever actually sound good? I've gotten it free in several different Avis cars (typically compacts or midsize), and every time it has sounded like a bad Real Audio computer feed ("swishing"/"phasing" kinds of effects that really detract from listening for me), like the bit rate being processed is a bit too low.
That makes no sense, except for maybe the compact cars you were renting just had bad audio altogether.

I have four Sirius subscriptions myself. 2 in cars, 1 at home, and 1 in the boat. All of them sound, "excellent" and better than FM radio, in my opinion. I also (until this past week) have had Sirius/XM in almost every avis car I rented, and they all sounded great too.

I'm a huge advocate of the product. I've signed up friends and family (now if they would only give me some referral bonus, that'd be swell).

I'm really bummed there's no more free XM/Sirius in rentals. Too bad I cant somehow use one of my four subscriptions when i'm traveling. I just dont want to deal with bringing the portable unit with me. More weight in my bag, another thing to remember/lose... just isnt a good situation.
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