Car rental this summer: why prices are exploding and scarcity is threatening – Economy



More than 500 euros a week on average in Biarritz, between 400 and 450 euros in Corsica: in France, car rental prices for the period 1 May to 31 August should double compared to 2019, in the very touristy areas. This is revealed by a study published last week by online comparator Carigami. Abroad same observation: “In islands like Tenerife or Mallorca, prices have doubled, just like in Italy. We happily exceed 1,000 euros a week in a Fiat 500,” a spokesman for the trade union for travel agents explained to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Rental companies delivered last

Such an explosion in prices can be explained by a supply of vehicles that has shrunk to a drip: “In the past year, the car sector has been confronted with a shortage of electronic components. Individuals are delivered first, to the detriment of rental companies, which of course order large quantities, but without many options, which is of less interest to the manufacturers, ”answers Telegrammet, Pierre Feisthauer, development manager at Carigami.

Since the beginning of the year, rental brands have registered only 38,518 private vehicles, while the level in the non-pandemic year exceeded 100,000 units, Le Journal de l’Automobile specifies. “The numbers are telling. We are not a priority channel and we are suffering from a bigger drop than the other sales channels”, confirms to our colleagues, Guirec Grand-Clément, Vice President of the Shared Mobility at Mobilian’s Trade Union.

This shortage of cars has been exacerbated by another consequence of the covid-19 crisis. “Hard hit by the halt of tourism, rental companies parted ways with a large part of their fleet in 2020: a quick way to recover money while reducing capital costs,” the UFC – Que Choisir Consumer Defense Association argues.

Still high demand

Fewer offers, but still demand from holidaymakers, despite sky-high fuel prices: “We can see that the French are going on holiday, they do not question that,” says Pierre Feisthauer.

And roadtrip enthusiasts will be at their expense. “In the USA, for example, the price increase is certainly a little smaller because many vehicles are produced locally, the market is less globalized than in Europe. But you have to rent a car there for two or three weeks, not just for a few days like in France. So in the end, the banknote can be very salty, ”notes the Carigami expert.

On the Brittany side, Brest and Rennes, the two cities surveyed by the online comparator, remain at more accessible levels, around 330 euros a week. But the Cité du Ponant has seen a sharp increase of 62% since 2019! “It is difficult to come up with an explanation: we are on a basic trend, which is the shortage of vehicles, and certain cities like Brest may be particularly affected by a temporary shortage, which is causing a rise in prices. Deliveries of new cars are so unpredictable at the moment … ”, Pierre Feisthauer tries to explain.

“We will probably be sold out”

What advice should you follow to avoid paying too much? “Rent now, as soon as possible. The more we go towards the summer holidays, the more prices fly away. And it will soon no longer be a question of price, but of availability. We will probably be sold out, especially in tourist areas,” said Carigami- the spokesman.

UFC Que Choisir offers the same type of advice and also recommends lowering the bill, to avoid expensive deductibles and extra insurance, especially if you have a premium bank card that allows you to be covered. The Consumer Defense Association also points out that it is better to avoid renting your car at stations and airports if possible because prices are higher there.

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