Where did the rental cars go?


We want to travel and rental car companies don't have the inventory! Gregory Scott, spokesman for the American Car Rental Association, says you can blame most of it on last year's Covid lockdown, when nobody was traveling. "There were literally hundreds of thousands of cars sitting unused in rental car lots. The rental car companies did what any company would do with unused assets that were costing them money ---- they sold them!" The companies would buy new cars to replace them if they could. "The number of new cars available to dealers now is at an historic low of 25 days of inventory!"

Supply chain disruption and the chip shortage are why auto manufacturers are delivering fewer cars. Scott says it will continue to be tight for a while. "There will be more business travelers competing with leisure travelers for the limited rental car numbers out there. And what can the auto manufactures do...can they ramp up their production?" Scott says not any time soon!

Scott didn't discuss pricing, but our quick online search of rental cars in the Houston area shows a range of $60 to $125 for a day in a mid-sized car.
Scott's suggestions:

  1. Book early
  2. Join a rental car agency loyalty program.

Photo: GettyImages

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Rental cars are back in demand, but supply is low.

Photo: Bloomberg


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