Rental Companies Feel the Hurt From Reduced Fleet Sales

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
rental companies feel the hurt from reduced fleet sales

The trickle-down effect from auto makers cutting fleet sales is hitting rental car customers. With fewer cars available and prices going up, rental companies are keeping cars longer and adding fees to cut costs. The Wall Street Journal reports that some customers are starting to notice an increase in the mileage on the cars they rent with a corresponding decrease in their condition. Companies are also cutting back on the perks given regular customers and adding additional charges for services such as after-hours returns; some even dictate where you can refill the car before you return it. They justify their actions by pointing out their profit margin on a $50 rental is only about $5; they'll do what they can to keep from losing money. Thrifty renters wanting to Payless on the National scene need to take Advantage of deals and show some Enterprise by looking at their Budget and squeezing every Dollar till it Hertz.

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  • Kazoomaloo Kazoomaloo on Oct 03, 2007

    glenn126, I was just thinking the same thing, or at least a similar one. A purpose-built rental car would be pretty neat, although I think that's what the Chrysler Sebring was planned to be all along...

  • Phil Phil on Oct 03, 2007

    i have to laugh when i read complaints about the quality of our rental cars. i used to travel to mexico frequently; the last "rental car" i got was a 90s S10 chevy pickup, manual, 4 cylinders (i think only 2 or 3 were working). it was probably "hot" and i don't mean that in a pamela anderson sort of way! it was dirty, beat up, made awful noises, tires worn (and god knows what the pressures were). 50 mph was an adventure. i felt lucky to arrive at my destination at all. everything's relative i guess.

  • Kurt B Kurt B on Oct 03, 2007

    You mean the rental companies will actually have to start changing the oil and everything? I'm shocked. Perhaps a good move by GM/Ford/Chryco - lower fleet sales - prices go up - the restart fleet sales at elevated prices.

  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Oct 04, 2007

    I'm not convinced this direction will do anything to improve residual values of (former) fleet queens. Consider that under this new "ride 'em hard and put them up wet" run them into the ground first approach, any resale value these models might have had at 20K will be next to nil at 50K+. Average resale value will be lower, not higher.