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Are there going to be car hire shortages again this summer?... By Philip Suter

In the summer of 2009 there were major problems for people trying to rent cars in popular locations in Europe. A major factor was because car hire companies had not taken on the normal levels of vehicles.

I have just booked a eight days car hire in Nice in the south of France. It is going to cost me £279 via Holiday Autos. I rented cars in January, March and June through them and this time their car hire provider is charging for an additional driver and this has not happened when I have made bookings there for years. In fact in the past eight years do not remember an additional charge be made. The cost equates to £35 per day. As I have had to cancel bookings, I also took out their cancelation waiver, but as I take out a "family and Partners" annual car hire excess insurance, declined their product.

I had just made flight arrangements with easyJet and part of their travel package is to offer discounted car hire. Their discounted price was £294 and they too also charged extra for another driver.

In July 2009 I rented a car for fourteen days that cost £323 - £23 per day and a year earlier for fifteen days it cost £335 working out at £22 per day. I had booked well in advance in 2008 and 2009, but no earlier than this year. Had we been going to Nice for 14/15 days this year it looks like the cost would have worked out around £490, some £167 more than the previous year. Could the higher prices mean that there will be fewer cars available again this year? I know of people visiting Nice in early May who could not hire an economy car when they tried booking at the last minute. They were offered top of the range models for small mortgage amounts, but all the small cars were booked.

Last summer destinations in Spain, France, Portugal and Ireland suffered shortages and the only way companies could control supply was with prices. A representative of a car rental company in Ireland told me, when I asked him how they were dealing with the short supply and he replied, "increase the hire prices".

It looks like you don't want to leave make your booking to the last minute and it also looks like car hire companies will make up extra income by those "extras" - additional drivers, car hire excess insurance - sat nav systems, roof racks, child seats. You can of course save money on the car hire excess insurance by buying it from a specialist provider as their charges are normally a lot less than going via the car hire company. There are now at least six of these to choose from at insurance4carrental.com

If you are going self catering, book your flights and car hire early and if you can be flexible with your dates, that often helps. There might be many more reports this year in the media of lack of vehicles when they are really needed.

(May 2010 ©jmlpropertyservices - Philip Suter)

N.B. This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed at. jml property Services 05-10

 

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See also:

No car hire shortages in the summer of 2011

Lack of Car Hire Availability Set to Continue into 2010 Warns Carrentals.co.uk - December 2009

Spain Still Has Car Hire Problems - Blog December 2009

Is there still a shortage of car hire vehicles in Europe? - Blog October 09

Shortage of Car hire vehicles in Spain - August 2009

Where have all the car hire rentals gone? - August 2009

Book your car hire early this summer - you might not get one at the last minute - Blog - July 2009

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