our tips to get the best prices

Rental car prices are skyrocketing again this year. Prices have doubled for certain destinations, in France and worldwide. Our three tips for finding a vehicle that fits your budget for your next vacation.

“The rental car has become a rare commodity, like sunflower oil or mustard”, compares Frédéric Pilloud from MisterFly. The joke sums up a truth: If you have not done so yet, renting a car in the summer of 2022 risks becoming an obstacle course, will cost you dearly, probably both. In France, Biarritz tops the list of cities where you have to pay the most, 505 euros a week, according to the comparator Carigami, a doubling of the price in two years. But inflation is widespread with a price jump of 41.3% on average compared to 2019, ie a week of 369 euros, again according to Carigami, and this without counting fuel, which has also increased.

The phenomenon is not limited to France, far from it. MisterFly, which compares prices between 170 rental companies in 145 countries, estimates the two-year increase in the average price of a rental in May at 493 euros at 117%. A colossal jump, emphasizes the holiday booking site, compared to the prices of airline tickets and the hotel, which for their part increased by 11% in the same period. Why this increase in rental car prices? The imbalance between supply and demand, always. As far as private individuals are concerned, the waiting times for car rental companies from manufacturers, due to lack of parts, are long, while demand remains strong due to holidaymakers’ desire or choice to stay in France again this summer. To find the rare gem, here are our three tips.

Compare prices by origin and destination

Among the providers, a distinction must be made between so-called route and local rental companies, although the boundaries have tended to blur in recent years. The former, such as Europcar, Hertz, Sixt or Budget, are located in traffic areas, stations, airports and major cities. The latter as Rent A Car, ADA, but also the rental services of major grocery stores such as Leclerc, Carrefour and Intermarché, have agencies all over France. Overall, the latter have always offered lower prices than the former because their structural costs are lower. And this is all the more true at the moment, as the former are more affected by the shortage because they drastically reduced their fleets by 2020, and although they have good relations with the producers, they are struggling to find them.

“The world of car rental has completely changed since 2019, when growth until then was driven by the increase in the number of tourists and the number of vehicles, explains Cédric Douls, Commercial Director at Europcar. The situation varies greatly from country to country, with markets more geared towards renting to professionals or individuals, holidaymakers or not. However, we found our customers as soon as they could travel again. In France, the customers, who are mostly strangers to us, are there again, but it is not the vehicles.Europcar, a heavyweight in the field of rental (presence in 140 countries with 248,000 vehicles), extends the period of use of cars to continue to serve its customers while waiting to receive new copies. Admittedly, this duration was only eight to nine months before the health crisis, but maintenance is also reflected in prices. “Our customers look primarily at the practical, but they have generally become more hesitant, and many book less than ten days before pick-up, ie three or four times shorter than before Covid”points out Cédric Douls.

Those who have chosen to fulfill their orders in 2020 and 2021, such as Rent A Car (25,000 vehicles), are reaping the benefits of this strategy. “We have certainly the problem of renewing the stock, but not increasing it. We could thus be present in the summer of 2020, where the activity as this year had been at a really good level. Our bookings, both at agencies and on the internet, have doubled in one year ”, assures Cyrille Dufour, director of the brand’s fleet (488 agencies). He nevertheless observes a wait-and-see attitude, ”Mainly because of the price, but be careful because prices only have to increase, our expenses, such as spare parts, also increase. The best advice is to book right away, especially for families who will not be able to fall back on a Twingo. »

2. Consider advising supermarkets and hypermarkets

With more than 500 stores offering car rental in Leclerc, 800 at Super U (ie one of two stores), 900 at Carrefour and the option to rent at Intermarché as well as at its two other brands, Roady and Bricomarché (utilities only for last), mass distribution has established itself in recent years in the field of short-term rental. But among holidaymakers, the reflex of consulting them to travel on the roads in the summer may not yet be there. “Above all, we rent out vans used by sports clubs for relocations, which also take place mainly in the summer, such as when going on holiday with friends or family.”, says Thierry Desouches, spokesman for Système U. The network of large dealers makes it easier to find a vehicle, both in the departure and destination regions. If their range is not as wide as with traditional rental companies, their prices are generally more affordable.

“We have 6,500 vehicles in France. One in six is ​​a tool whose consumption has risen sharply since January. For passenger cars, we offer eight to ten models, each corresponding to a need, Renault Scenic and Clio and Fiat 500 are the most popular », explains Cyrille Bouleau, Director of Carrefour Location. This distributor offers uniform prices in the territory, which is not always the case, and “We have chosen not to change them, at least since 2008, and to include mileage in our packages. The most popular for both summer and winter holidays are seven days with 1500 kilometers included »adds the manager, who warns: For the months of July and August 2022, many vehicles have already been reserved because his customers book two to three months in advance. “In Ile-de-France and in the coastal areas, the dynamics are of course maintained. In addition, more and more customers are using our vehicles for long-term rental. ” And therefore go on holiday with.

Rent a car from a private individual

“Many factors carry us,” acknowledges Benoit Sineau, CEO of OuiCar, lists the destination’s France’s attractiveness, inflation in air and train fares and, of course, rental cars. Their deficiency combined with the general increase in brands stimulates rental between individuals. “ Our customers spend less, between 30% and 50%, than on traditional rentals, and owners can secure an extra income of 300 to 600 euros a month. ”claims the leader of the platform to 2.7 million members, whose activity has increased 70% since the beginning of the year.

“The demand is greater than the number of cars, 35,000 today all over France, and our main purpose is to encourage other owners to join us. Especially as they will not only be able to rent during the holidays, but increasingly throughout the year. around due to telework, which has created new travel needs, and the fact that car sharing is becoming more common, everywhere in France, even where there were no car rental offers », continues Benoit Sineau. Competitor Getaround, which offers more than 30,000 vehicles, also notes that the French are more likely to share their cars for the year or for the summer. With Getaround Connect, our box installed for free, you can order a car whenever you want and wherever you want, without standing in line. In the city, in the countryside and even at 19 stations because we won a tender from SNCF at the end of 2021, where we have reserved parking spaces, as in our cities and partner parking operators that facilitate the mobility of our customers », describes Matthieu Bouchaud, Head of Communications. The company acknowledges that as the warmer weather approaches, prices set by homeowners will rise. “But they are not exploding and we are already expecting very high occupancy rates of more than 80% in Corsica but also to Marseille or even in Brittany »he states.

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