Consolidated Rental Car Centers are very much a "clean car factory". Included in that manufacturing-like process are fueling, trash removal, and car washes, among other things. Without the functional parts of the consolidated center, namely car wash and fuel, rental car companies cannot deliver a satisfactory product to customers.
The second week of January brought heavy snow and the coldest temperatures Chicago has seen in over 30 years. Starting January 4th, a foot of snow fell in under 48 hours. On January 6th and 7th air temperatures remained below zero with wind chills that reached -45F.
The extreme weather closed schools across the Midwest and grounded thousands of flights at the Chicago O’Hare and Midway airports.
At the Midway Consolidated Rental Car Facility, however, operations never shut down. Car washes were functional, fuel was available, and the drive lanes and ramps stayed open, plowed and treated with concrete-safe ice melt.
Based on feedback from the car wash maintenance contractor and chemical suppliers, the 10 car wash bays at the Midway Rental Car Center were the only car washes in operation in the greater Chicago area throughout the deep freeze.
Because of the continuous operations at the Midway facility, by Wednesday January 8th, when the temperature warmed and the airport resumed its full flight schedule, the rental car companies were prepared to accommodate the surge of customers.
The Chicago Midway Rental Car Center is a facility owned by the City of Chicago's department of Aviation and is managed by Conrac Managers MDW, a subsidiary of Conrac Solutions LLC. Conrac Managers MDW reports directly to the rental car companies that lease space at the 853,000 SF facility. The facility opened in April 2013, and with help from Conrac Managers MDW is successfully facing its first Chicago winter.