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The old matrix had been used successfully for many years but with an increasing number of changes in motor vehicle design it is was necessary to expand the matrix to facilitate more precise and descriptive coding.

Key factors:

  • Increasingly diverse chassis types in motor vehicle design
  • Growing demand to specify different fuel types
  • Need to differentiate between 2/4 wheel drive SUVs
  • Greater demand to offer specific models and promotion vehicles
  • Need to facilitate enhanced search logic via online booking services
  • Improved information for consumers to make an `informed choice’ when making a car rental booking

Old matrix

M Mini B 2-Door A Automatic R Yes
E Economy D 4-Door M Manual N No
C Compact C 2/4-Door Car        
I Intermediate W Wagon/Estate        
S Standard V Van (passenger)        
F Full-Size L Limousine        
P Premium S Sport        
L Luxury T Convertible        
X Special F 4-Wheel Drive        
    P Pick Up        
    J All Terrain        
    K Van (Cargo)        
    X Special        
    R Recreational        


Expanded Matrix

M Mini B 2-3 Door M Manual Unspecified Drive R Unspecified Fuel/Power With Air
N Mini Elite C 2/4 Door N Manual 4WD N Unspecified Fuel/Power Without Air
E Economy D 4-5 Door C Manual AWD D Diesel Air
H Economy Elite W Wagon/Estate A Auto Unspecified Drive Q Diesel No Air
C Compact V Passenger Van B Auto 4WD H Hybrid Air
D Compact Elite L Limousine/Sedan D Auto AWD I Hybrid No Air
I Intermediate S Sport     E Electric Air
J Intermediate Elite T Convertible     C Electric No Air
S Standard F SUV     L LPG/Compressed Gas Air
R Standard Elite J Open Air All Terrain     S LPG/Compressed Gas No Air
F Fullsize X Special     A Hydrogen Air
G Fullsize Elite P Pick up Regular Car     B Hydrogen No Air
P Premium Q Pick up Extended Car     M Multi Fuel/Power Air
U Premium Elite Z Special Offer Car     F Multi fuel/power No Air
L Luxury E Coupe     V Petrol Air
W Luxury Elite M Monospace     Z Petrol No Air
O Oversize R Recreational Vehicle     U Ethanol Air
X Special H Motor Home     X Ethanol No Air
    Y 2 Wheel Vehicle        
    N Roadster        
    G Crossover        
    K Commercial Van/Truck        


Features & Benefits of the Expanded Matrix

  • Category – increased with the introduction of an `Elite’ band for most existing categories.
  • The `Elite’ categories are designed to enable Car Rental companies to differentiate between standard and high-spec or luxury brand models of similar dimensions
  • in 2018 the "L" type code expanded to include Sedan cars as well especially in certain markets where limousine indicates a sedan car.

ACRISS Definition for "Elite"

The term ‘Elite’ has been selected by ACRISS to identify a category of vehicle that is superior to another of equal body size. The difference between the two vehicles may be Price, Engine size, Performance, Fixtures, Features or any combination of these.


  Old Matrix Expanded Matrix
Ford Focus Compact Compact
BMW 1 Series Compact Compact Elite
  • Oversize category was been added to cater for the `Hummer’ type vehicles. Currently popular in North America but with growing demand elsewhere.
  • Types – nine additional types were added, including: Roadster, Coupe, Special Offer / Promotional
  • The existing Type `F’ was changed from 4WD to SUV
  • Fuel Type – with the ever increasing number of options available it was necessary to have the ability to distinguish the fuel type, this is particularly true in regions whereby tax breaks apply to certain fuels. This element has been incorporated into the 4th character
  • Drive – Due to demand, especially within North America, the ability to distinguish SUV’s as 2 wheel drive, 4 wheel drive, or ALL wheel drive has became a key issue. Consequently this has now been incorporated into the 3rd character. This enables improved consumer choice globally when making bookings.
  • Passenger Vans – in the old matrix Passenger Vans are classified using the same algorithm as regular cars whereby cost and volume determine the Category (1st character). In the expanded matrix, classification of the Passenger Vans Category (1st character) will be enhanced to identify passenger capacity, as per the chart below:
IV 6+ Seats
JV Elite 6+ Seats
SV 7+ seats
RV Elite 7+ Seats
FV 7+ Seats, plus more space
GV Elite 7+ Seats plus more space
PV 8+ Seats
UV Elite 8+ Seats
LV 9+ Seats
WV Elite 9+ Seats
XV 12+ Seats
OV 15+ Seats



  • Q4 2006 – ACRISS delivered a new Classification System based on the new matrix requirements. This ran in parallel with the existing system to enable `in-house system’ testing and staff education.
  • Q4 2006 – Global Distribution Systems (GDS) implementation coordinated to synchronise the switch, to enable car rental companies to standardise coding across all GDS at one time
  • Q4 2006 / Q1 2007 – ACRISS members began implementation and completed by end of 2007.
  • Q3 2018 - Car Type definitions were updated with new revised definitions, see full update list: Car Type Definitions

How was this achieved?

  • In 2003 requests began in earnest to ACRISS Members and generally within the industry to expand the current matrix
  • By 2004 the US showed support for the expansion, largely due to the problems experienced in the SUV market
  • ACRISS was elected to drive the project being the only forum capable of handling such a change, the project commenced Q4 2004
  • As the current ACRISS remit is EMEA only, legal opinion was sort for ACRISS to be permitted to create an environment to facilitate global participation
  • Subsequently ACRISS formed a sub-group in the US to engage the key contacts and ensure all requirements were considered.
  • After more than a year of dialogue agreement was reached on the new matrix. This communication included two Global meetings attended by all the major RAC companies and all 4 GDS’.
  • Ensuring the buy-in from the major online players was also key to acceptance and the Sub Group meetings were attended by a number of representatives.
  • Non ACRISS Members are encouraged to participate in the Classification System to enhance information quality and improve consumer choice
  • In 2017 ACRISS also developed and implemented enhanced coding for the SUV and Crossover cars based on increased demand for these car types in Europe.  
  • 2018 ACRISS revised and updated the car type definitions (2nd letter of the Expanded Matrix)

New SUV/Crossover coding

  • ACRISS recently commissioned our experts in this field to come up with a proposal for these middle-ground cars and further analysis cemented the fact that there is a genuine ‘grey’ area within this category.   Our panel of experts reviewed each of these cars specifically and came up with a consensus on the classification.
  • Now within the Standard class, vehicles are categorised either as an SUV or a Crossover, but no car/model appears in both categories.
  • Attention has also been paid to two key areas. Certain models are now classified as Premium SUVs, a reflection of the ability to charge more for these cars due to their perceived status. Second, any categorisation that relies upon seating capacity has been removed.
  • Premium SUVs – allocated to certain brands where customers are prepared to pay more for a certain brand & model
  • Special SUVs – this category is reserved for cars that fit a certain price/prestige for specific models.
  • The Elite classification will still be applied to more expensive/more powerful vehicles of each model range. Also in a small number of cases where 4x4 transmission is fitted to Crossovers, the third letter of the Classification System will be used.

Next steps:

  • ACRISS will review and update the guidelines and requirements for Commercial/cargo Vans 
ACRISS Association of Car Rental Industry Systems Standards
EEIG European Economic Interest Grouping
® European Registered Association
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Principal Members: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterpise, Europcar, Hertz, Maggiore & National.

Allied Associates: Amadeus, Travelport, Sabre, Car Rental Gateway, Blacklane, Taxitender, Karhoo & MyCab         
Honorary Associates  IATA, GEBTA, ACRA, BVRLA, Travel Agents, Tour Operators & Industry Press

For further information:

Contact ACRISS on:
Email: info@acriss.org
Web: www.acriss.org