In 1912, Martin Sixt founded the company with a fleet of three cars and created the first car rental company in Bavaria. During World War I, the fleet was confiscated and used by the German army. After the war, operations resumed, but the fleet was again seized by the German army at the outbreak of World War II. When the war was over, the company recovered and established a taxi fleet for members of the US Army stationed in Germany. It then opened a taxi business in Munich with the first radio taxis.
In 1951, the car rental company Auto Sixt was founded. In 1982, Auto Sixt was renamed Sixt Autovermietung GmbH, with the name Sixt/Budget in the logo. The company was transformed again in 1986, this time becoming Sixt AG, a company traded on the German stock exchange. In 1988 the subsidiary Sixt Leasing GmbH was formed and in 1993 AG's operational activities were handed over to another subsidiary, Sixt GmbH & Co Autovermietung KG. Sixt AG then acted as a holding company in the group.
In 1993, Sixt bought the assets of its competitor Autoverleih Buchbinder, who operated the brand for a short time before finally winding it down. Sixt had failed to secure the naming rights, and subsequently Buchbinder was re-established and continued to operate in the market.
In 1999, the Bundesgerichtshof Federal Court (BGH) issued a decisive verdict against Sixt for illegal price fixing, requiring the company to pay damages to its franchisees. Sixt had de facto controlled the pricing of the independent franchisees' rates, as they were part of the Germany-wide reservation system. In the event of price discrepancies, the leases were sent back to Germany. This was considered impermissible under German antitrust law (second-party pricing) and was banned by the BGH.
In 2003, the company was forced to defend itself against Hedge Fund Manager Florian Homm, who had speculated on falling share prices. Homm was eventually fined for price manipulation. In 2006, Sixt made a bid to take over its competitor, Europcar, when owner Volkswagen offered it for sale. In addition to antitrust concerns (Sixt at the time had about 23% market share, Europcar 22%), there was also opposition from Europcar's works council, which feared cutbacks after the merger. Volkswagen finally accepted an offer from the French investment company Eurazeo.
Since 2007 and through subsidiaries, Sixt has operated online motor vehicle brokerage with the websites Autocommunity Carmondo, Mystocks, RadAlert, Winebase and autohaus24. In 2010, former employees claimed that Sixt was against establishing a works council. The company's management denied the accusation. In 2011, the company opened its first US branch in Florida.
One of the cars in the SIXT Share fleet. Munich, 2019.
In 2013, Sixt AG was transformed into the legal form of a European company (Societas Europaea) and has since then been called Sixt SE. As part of the transition, a European Works Council ("Sixt Europe Leaders Forum") was established in 2013. In May 2015, Sixt took its subsidiary Sixt Leasing AG to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
In early 2018, Sixt sold its shares in the car-sharing service DriveNow for €209 million to its joint venture partner BMW. In February 2019, Sixt started its own mobility platform and a new car sharing service called Sixt share. The car rental, car sharing, ride hailing and car subscription services are all combined into one app.
In 2020, Sixt sold all its shares in Sixt Leasing SE to focus its operations on its mobility services. In June 2020, Sixt acquired 10 concessions at US airports from Advantage Rent a Car. The acquisition increased the number of Sixt locations in the United States to more than 85. In late July 2020, Lyft and Sixt announced a partnership, where Lyft app users can rent a car from either partner through the app.
In December 2021, the company expanded into Australia via a partnership with the Australian National Roads & Motorists' Association. 160 branches and a total of 16,000 vehicles are thus franchised under the Sixt brand.
Sixt Rent a Car