Rental cars hard to find in Colorado, nationwide
Matt Kelley lives in Denver and works for Major League Baseball, but he’s like the people who go to Mile High City for the All-Star Game: he needs a car.
He and his wife picked up a rental car earlier this week and found prices had skyrocketed. Another problem that people face is a limited supply. Try reserving a vehicle online at Enterprise near Denver International Airport during Star Week and you get “Sold Out Location” on the screen.
Kelley said cars were available at the Enterprise which he tried out. He and his wife only have one car, which is usually not a problem, but â€œwe have a lot going onâ€.
â€œSo instead of trying to organize a bunch of different Ubers, that sort of thing, we decided to hire a car,â€ he added.
But Kelley went with a carsharing company when Enterprise offered her $ 120 a day. â€œWe had rented from there before and it was $ 30, $ 35 a day.
Car rental companies are just one of the many industries facing the economic effects of the pandemic, such as equipment and labor shortages, while trying to respond to the escalating demand. request. Rental car prices and demand were up 70% from the July 4 vacation compared to the same time in 2019, according to KAYAK, an online travel agent.
But it wasn’t just people with pent-up travel fever that caused rental cars to run out. At the height of the pandemic, when business was dropping, companies cut costs by offloading cars with the intention of restocking when business picked up.
Then a pandemic-induced computer chip shortage struck, shutting down auto assembly plants and emptying auto dealership showrooms.
â€œThere aren’t enough new vehicles to supply, not just the car rental companies but consumers. Car rental companies need to look to remarketing channels, auctions, to increase where they would typically buy new cars, â€said Trent Broberg, CEO of Acertus, an automotive logistics company.
Used cars aren’t that easy to find either. With a premium on new vehicles, some barely used vehicle models sell for more than new ones.
One of the services provided by Acertus involves moving rental cars to locations where demand is high due to events, such as the All-Star Game, or to vacation hot spots.
â€œRight now you don’t see the repositioning of assets that would have been done historically because you just don’t have a lot of assets,â€ Broberg said.
And Broberg said a shortage of workers, a problem that disrupts many industries, is another factor. â€œI’m sure they are having difficulty recruiting hourly workers,â€ he said of the car rental companies.
A challenge for Acertus is to recruit enough drivers to move the cars.
Avis declined to comment on its offer of cars in the Denver area. Hertz did not return a request for comment.
In an email, Lisa Martini of Enterprise Holdings said the company, like the rest of the industry, is seeing increased demand across the country and expects it to continue throughout the ‘summer. Enterprise is also seeing an increase in rental terms and demand for specialty vehicles, such as vans, pickup trucks and large sport utility vehicles.
Martini said providing flexible travel dates and pickup locations could help. She said Business added a feature to direct customers to nearby available locations.
People who want but can’t find a rental car can opt for an Uber or a Lyft. However, this road could also be a bit bumpy. Research firm Rakuten Intelligence said in June that the price of a trip in March was 37% higher than a year ago. Companies attributed higher costs and wait times to a shortage of drivers.
Uber did not return a request for comment on its service in the Denver area. Lyft said in an email that it does not publish driver numbers or market specific drivers, but as vaccines rolled out this spring and people started to travel more, the company has started to see demand exceed the number of available drivers.
“We have added thousands of drivers over the past few weeks and this is already leading to a better passenger experience with wait times down by more than 15% nationally and 35% in some major markets.” , the company said.
Lyft’s Wait and Save feature offers passengers a lower fee if they opt for longer waits.