Home Rent a car Car rental companies across the US struggle to replace shrinking fleets

Car rental companies across the US struggle to replace shrinking fleets

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(The Central Square) – The country is opening up and travel is increasing, but visitors find the rental car landscape a little empty.

Car rental companies continue to struggle to meet demand after selling fleets to stay afloat during the pandemic.

“The fundamental thing causing this is the very rational corporate response to the pandemic and the virtual halt to international and domestic travel for most of 2020 and the first half of 2021,” Gregory Scott, spokesperson for the American Car Rental Association (ACRA) said The Center Square. “Airport rentals fell 70-90% in March and April of last year, and as a result there were literally tens of thousands of unwanted and unwanted vehicles because people stopped traveling. . “

Two national companies, Hertz and Advantage, filed for bankruptcy last year.

Car rental companies couldn’t afford to keep paying for fleets of cars that weren’t making money, Scott said, so they sold them.

Enter the second problem: the disruption of the supply chain.

Travel is increasing, but companies cannot find the cars to replace the ones they were selling.

“The offer is definitely tight,” Scott said. “Companies that belong to ACRA are trying to replace their fleets, however, there is a problem with the production of new cars in this country and elsewhere where new cars are just not as available as they were before the pandemic. “

A global semiconductor shortage has led to the scarcity of new cars, and used cars, the second best option, are also disappearing.

“I was driving past a car dealership the other day and looked as I sat at a traffic light and saw almost no new cars on their lot. There was actually a truck unloading cars, and it looked like as soon as a car was unloaded, there was a buyer sitting there – maybe they had been waiting for him for a few weeks, ”he said. “But there are just no new cars available at retail right now, let alone for fleet purchases.”

Scott said he had heard of some companies that have entered the used car market to purchase late model vehicles in order to expand their fleets to meet demand.

For those looking to rent a car, Scott says there are a few things they can do to get around the shortage.

“Make their reservation early,” he said. “If they can’t find the supply they’re looking for, say, at an airport, then be flexible in terms of renting maybe in a downtown location.”

If travelers make their reservations early, Scott says, companies should have the cars available.

“For now, last-minute car rental days won’t be such an easy or wise decision,” he said.


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