“Men of Character.” This is how in a 1925 ad John Hertz described the franchise partners he wanted to enlist to expand the company. The two-page ad, published in The Sunday Evening Post, had an enormous, positive response, and so began the start of our franchise community.
Hertz Malta, the company’s longest-tenured franchisee in Europe
Strong, dedicated leaders, eager to grow and daring in business, The Gatt Baldacchino family members have been Hertz “Men and Women of character” for over half a century.
Having been operated by the Gatt Baldacchino family for the last 57 years, Hertz Malta is currently Hertz’s longest-tenured franchisee in Europe.
The story begins in 1926, when a young man named Carmelo Gatt Baldacchino, full of dreams and ambition, founded United Motor Company, a Maltese bus and chauffeur-driven vehicles business. After decades of expansion, Carmelo’s once small company grew to become The United Group of Companies, one of the most renowned and diversified enterprises in Malta.
When Carmelo passed away, his 15-year-old son Charles had to enter the family business. Charles’ great business skills and determination helped him secure important contracts, including one with the NATO base in Malta, and quickly became a pioneer in the Maltese travel and tourism industry.
In, 1961, 35 years after Carmelo’s adventure started, Charles founded United Garage Limited, a subsidiary of the United Group, and acquired the Hertz franchisee for the Maltese Islands, becoming one of the first Hertz franchise partners in Europe.
Charles Gatt Baldacchino, one of the first European entrepreneurs to become a Hertz “Man of character” was a gent ahead of his time, well known and respected in the business community. He never forgot his humble beginnings and his principles of integrity and trust.
Hertz Malta yesterday and today
With 20 Hillman Minx, Morris Minor and Triumph Herald vehicles, Hertz Malta started its operations in St Anthony Street, Sliema, soon becoming the preferred car rental option for tourists arriving in the sunny Mediterranean islands. Hertz Malta has since become the car rental leader in the country.
Today, United Group, led by Charles’ sons, Edmund and Simon Gatt Baldacchino, is an active player in the automotive, retail and real estate sectors.
United Group’s commitments to excellence, quality service, and teamwork have been clearly reflected in Hertz Malta from the very beginning, setting the company apart from its local competitors.
Aligned with the company’s commitment to expansion and diversification, in 1996 United Garage launched Hertz Lease to start operating lease packages to local businesses. The acquisition of the Firefly franchisee followed in 2014, and last year the company became a multi-brand franchisee with the addition of Dollar and Thrifty to its brand portfolio.
Simon Gatt Baldacchino, Managing Director, United Garage Limited tells us:
“I am proud to be part of the third generation of Gatt Baldacchino men and women involved in transportation services in Malta. My grandfather and father were real key players in the Maltese travel and tourism sectors and, together with my great team, I work hard to continue to deliver the high standards they have always sought. We love belonging to the Hertz family and are very proud of also operating the Dollar, Thrifty and Firefly brands in Malta, offering a broad range of car rental products to tourists and businesses.”
Michel Taride, Group President, Hertz International, commented:
“The wonderful achievements of the Gatt Baldacchino family and the Hertz Malta team over nearly six decades are very inspirational. Men and women of character – with outstanding local expertise and high customer service standards, such as the Gatt Baldacchinos – have been instrumental in helping our brands to grow and shine globally. We are proud of our longstanding partnership with United Garage Limited and commend them for their great work in operating our full portfolio of brands.”