Rental Cars Becoming Scarce And Expensive For US Travelers
Umer Jamshaid 1 month ago Fri 07th May 2021 | 08:30 AM
The Michigan businessman was stunned, but the experience is becoming more common for US travelers, an unexpected consequence of the pandemic.
Pohlen told AFP that Hertz was the only agency that had a vehicle available during a brief trip to the East Coast.
And though he chose "the cheapest possible option," the bill came to $601.59 for a vehicle rented in Maryland and returned in Pennsylvania two days later.
Avis in February said it had reduced its fleet by a third.
But now that mass vaccinations have allowed travelers to get back on the road, the companies are struggling to meet the surge in reservations.
An Enterprise spokesperson told AFP that like the rest of the industry the company "is seeing increased demand for vehicles for spring and summer travel -- especially in popular US vacation destinations." - Replenishing the fleets - The global semiconductor shortage that has disrupted auto production since the start of the year has meanwhile only made matters worse for the companies trying to build back their stock of cars.
That has forced those companies to adapt as best they can, including by holding onto their cars longer.
Avis also is focusing more on vehicle maintenance.
But for consumers, "to get into something that's three years old, four years old, and with 30 or 50,000 miles, that doesn't have the features that you are accustomed to, that could really impact your perception of the brand," said Ivan Drury, an auto industry analyst at Edmunds.
That is especially true if customers have to pay a lot more than usual.
To avoid frustration, Enterprise recommends travelers "reserve a vehicle as early as possible." "Providing flexible travel dates and branch pick-up locations in your search may also help increase your options," the company said.
The higher cost for rental cars comes just as the reopening economy has led to a boom in demand for certain products and services. That coupled with supply bottlenecks and unforseen events like the semiconductor shortages has pushed many US prices higher.
"We are thrilled that a record number of travelers are discovering the amazing hospitality of Turo hosts, our superior selection, convenience and value," Turo chief Andre Haddad said in a message to AFP.
Bobby Binissa, an emergency room trauma nurse in Los Angeles, has offered three cars on Turo since the start of the year.
"I have upped the prices, because demand is picking up so. But not too high because if you raise your price, then you have competition from the other hosts."Drury says the unusual situation has offered these platforms the opportunity to really compete with rental agencies for the first time.
But it won't last long since once the companies rebuild their fleets they will be "operating in a different league."