Rental car prices are soaring again this year. Fares have doubled for certain destinations, in France and around the world. Here are three tips for finding a vehicle that fits your budget for your next vacation.
“The rental car has become a rare commodity, as has sunflower oil or mustard.”, compares Frédéric Pilloud of MisterFly. The joke sums up one truth: if you haven’t already, renting a car this summer 2022 risks being an obstacle course, it will cost you a lot, probably both. In France, Biarritz tops the ranking of cities where you have to pay the most, 505 euros a week, according to the Carigami comparator, ie a doubling of the price in two years. But inflation is widespread with an increase in prices of 41.3% on average compared to 2019, ie a week to 369 euros, again according to Carigami, not counting fuel, which has also increased.
The phenomenon is not limited to France, much less. MisterFly, which compares prices between 170 rental companies in 145 countries, estimates the two-year increase in the average rental price in May at 493 euros at 117%. A colossal leap, underlines the place of holiday reservations, with respect to the prices of plane tickets and the hotel, which in turn increased by 11% during the same period. Why this increase in rental car prices? The imbalance between supply and demand, always. As for individuals, the waiting times of car rental companies from manufacturers, due to lack of parts, are long, while demand remains strong due to the willingness or choice of holidaymakers to stay again. in France this summer. To find the rare pearl, here are our three tips.
Compare prices at source and destination
Among the suppliers, a distinction must be made between the so-called route and local rental companies, although the boundaries have tended to blur in recent years. The first ones, such as Europcar, Hertz, Sixt or Budget, are located in traffic areas, stations, airports and large cities. The latter, such as Rent A Car, ADA, but also the rental services of large grocery stores such as Leclerc, Carrefour and Intermarché, have agencies throughout France. The latter, in general, 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 most affected by the shortage, because they drastically reduced their fleets in 2020 and, although they maintain good relations with manufacturers, it is difficult for them to find a replacement.
“The world of car rental has changed completely since 2019, as growth until then was driven by the increase in the number of tourists and the number of vehicles, explains Cédric Douls, commercial director of Europcar. The situation varies greatly from one country to another, with more rental-oriented markets for professionals or individuals, holidaymakers or not. However, we found our customers as soon as they were able to travel again. In France, our customers, who are mostly foreigners, are back there, but the vehicles are not.Europcar, a heavyweight in rental (presence in 140 countries with 248,000 vehicles), extends the period of use of cars to continue serving its customers, waiting to receive new copies. This duration was certainly only eight to nine months before the health crisis, but maintenance is also reflected in prices. “Our customers are mostly looking for the practice, but in general they have become more hesitant and many book less than ten days before the collection, that is, three or four times more than before the 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 certainly have the problem of renewing the stock, but not increasing it. So we were able to be present during the summer of 2020, when the activity had been at a very good level, like this year. Our reservations, both in the agencies and on the Internet, have doubled in one year “, says Cyrille Dufour, director of the brand’s fleet (488 agencies). However, he observes an attitude of waiting and seeing, “Mainly for the price, but be careful because prices should only increase, our costs, such as spare parts, also increase. The best advice is to book immediately, especially for families who will not be able to pick up a Twingo again. »
2. Consider consulting supermarkets and hypermarkets
With over 500 stores offering car rental in Leclerc, 800 in Super U (i.e. one in two stores), 900 in Carrefour and the possibility of renting in Intermarché as well as its two other brands, Roady and Bricomarché (utilities only for the latter), mass distribution has been consolidated in recent years in short-term rental. But among holidaymakers, the reflex of consulting them to travel the roads in the summer may not yet be there. “Above all, we rent vans, used by sports clubs, for removals that also take place mainly in the summer, such as going on holiday with friends or family.”, says Thierry Desouches, spokesman for Système U. The network of large dealers makes it easy to find a vehicle, both in the region of departure and in the region of destination. If their ranges are not as wide as those of traditional rental companies, their prices are generally more affordable.
“We have 6,500 vehicles in France. One in six is a utility, the usage rate of which has skyrocketed since January. For passenger vehicles, we offer eight to ten models each corresponding to a need, being the Renault Scenic and Clio, as well as the Fiat 500, 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 the mileage in our packages. The most popular for both summer and winter holidays is the seven-day one with 1500 kilometers included »adds the manager, who warns: for the months of July and August 2022 many vehicles have already been booked, because their customers book two or three months in advance. “In Ile-de-France and coastal areas, the dynamic is maintained naturally. In addition, more and more customers are using our vehicles for long-term rental. ” And so go on vacation with.
3. Rent a car to an individual
“Many factors lead us” acknowledges Benoit Sineau, CEO of OuiCar, listing the appeal of the destination France, the inflation of airfare and train prices and, of course, rental cars. Its scarcity combined with the general increase in labels stimulates rent between individuals. “ Our customers spend less, between 30% and 50%, than on traditional rentals and landlords can ensure an additional income of 300 to 600 euros per month. “argues the head of the platform to 2.7 million members, whose activity has increased by 70% since the beginning of the year.
“The demand is higher than the number of cars, 35,000 today throughout France, and our main goal is to encourage other owners to join us. Especially because they will be able to rent not only during the holidays, but more and more throughout the year due to teleworking, which has generated new travel needs, and the fact that car sharing is becoming more common, all over France, until and wherever there was none. car rental offer », continued 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 summer. “With Getaround Connect, our free installed box, you can order a car whenever and wherever you want, without queuing. In the city, in the countryside and even in 19 stations because at the end of 2021 we won a tender from the SNCF, where we have reserved parking spaces, as in our cities and associated parking operators facilitating the mobility of our clients”, describes Matthieu Bouchaud, head of communications. The company acknowledges that as warmer weather approaches, homeowner prices are rising. “But they are not exploiting and we already expect very high employment rates of more than 80% Corsica but also in Marseille or even a Brittany »points out.