Home Rent a car Affordable car rental stands due to Covid-19 and smaller fleets

Affordable car rental stands due to Covid-19 and smaller fleets


The cost of hiring a car abroad has jumped by more than 100% since pre-pandemic times, while a severe shortage of supply means many Irish could struggle to secure a rental in any price in the coming months.

Rising demand, coupled with a chronic shortage of components needed to manufacture cars as well as post-Covid market complications, has sent prices skyrocketing. And that means costs have more than doubled, even in destinations that have traditionally been cheap for car hire.

Recent research by consumer groups across Europe suggests fares at major holiday destinations are up 135% on 2019 as rental companies find it difficult, if not impossible, to meet demand in the face of an anticipated crisis. increase in leisure travel this summer.

When the coronavirus hit in the spring of 2020, the international travel industry came to a halt, forcing car rental companies around the world to sell a large percentage of their fleets just to stay afloat.

According to a study published last week by French car rental comparison site Carigimi, there has been a 40% drop in rental cars on the market between 2020 and 2021.

Production difficulties

While the selloff worked in the short term, it left businesses with headaches heading into the summer of 2022.

They encountered enormous difficulties in resupplying their fleets. This is due to an ongoing shortage of semiconductors that has forced automakers around the world to slow down or halt production of certain models.

Automakers have also geared their business towards individual consumers rather than wholesale rental companies to maximize their profits. In the past, rental companies have been able to order vehicles in bulk and take advantage of deep discounts, but as the market has become a seller’s market, they have suddenly become the least attractive market for manufacturers.

According to UK consumer group Which? things are now “so bad that at peak times in 2022, it’s likely that some places won’t have any cars to rent at all”.

The price spiral began last summer, although few Irish people travel, car rental inflation has not attracted much attention in this part of the world. But it is likely to attract many more this summer.

“Last-minute bookers in high season can expect to pay the highest prices,” warns Which? spokesperson Guy Hobbs.

“The rental companies have now missed nearly two years of trading at a normal level and need to recoup some of their losses,” Mr Hobbs said.

“Many have kept their heads above water by selling vehicles, helping to manage costs and generate cash. Some fleets have been reduced by up to 30% of normal levels. But as demand slowly returned, rental car companies had limited financial reserves to replenish. And when they were able to order new vehicles, they faced wait times from manufacturers of up to a year due to plant closures and shortages of raw materials.

“Right now car rental fleets are small and businesses can’t grow. . . But even when the manufacturing bottleneck ends, it will take time for car rental companies to rebuild. their fleets and recoup the losses of the past two years. With nearly two years of pent-up travel demand, if this summer sees significantly fewer restrictions, it’s likely providers will struggle to keep up with rental car demand.” , Mr. Hobbs added.

Fears over demand have also prompted many people to book much earlier for summer 2022, so many deals that might have been on the table have already been closed.

The Irish Times Readers’ Experience

Irish Times readers have reported huge price increases in recent weeks.

“I’m traveling to Canada in August for a family wedding,” Michelle McGinley said.

“We thought we’d make it a short trip, worked out an itinerary, booked accommodation and left what I thought would be the easiest but until the end – car rental.

“In 2018, I booked an SUV for 22 days for $1,014, leaving San Francisco and driving back to Seattle. € for an 11 day trip Alas no The quote I got for an SUV was €2633 More than double the cost for half the time.

Paul Bermingham is going to Orlando for two weeks this summer.

“It’s one of those, like many I’m sure, that has been rescheduled from 2020. We paid €549 for our car for the two weeks, my daughter decided she would also get one car and book now for the same car and same period was €1,250.

The word Claire McDermott used to describe the hikes was “shocking.” She had booked a Renault Clio Estate for a week in Portugal in August 2020.

“It was booked for €260 in total including local taxes etc. The same car in August is €560!”