The Rental Car Chry-sis

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
the rental car chry sis

Walk into a video rental store, and you're sure to encounter a large number of titles you've never seen gracing the marquee of your local cineplex. Similarly, rental companies hunting for the best deals buy-up huge numbers of the slowest-selling vehicles at cut-rate prices. And nobody makes more straight-to-rental releases than Chrysler. So it should come as no surprise that rental firms like Dollar Thrifty Auto Group have fleets that are up to 85 percent Chrysler. And that shouldn't be the end of the world, because most of the rental car market doesn't mind rocking a Sebring for a weekend if it saves them some cash. But, for Dollar Thrifty, the now-legendary Chrysler depreciation is munching a giant hole in their bottom line– at a time when rentals are slowing anyway. The LA Times reports that Dollar Thrifty (DT) has posted a 30 percent decline in Q2 earnings compared to last year, spurred by epic depreciation among the Chryslers that make up the bulk of DT's fleet. Costs associated with depreciation are up 28 percent. The only thing falling faster than the value of DT's fleet is their stock price, down 89 percent in the last year.

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4 of 14 comments
  • Mikeolan Mikeolan on Aug 12, 2008

    That's like being surprised Avis rents GM or Hertz rents Ford.... they're all spinoffs back from when-it-seemed-like-a-good-idea. That said, I sure see a ton of Sebrings and Avengers on the road, and they're legit (aka not rentals.)

  • Whynotaztec Whynotaztec on Aug 12, 2008

    I gotta tell ya, rented a Charger from Dollar in El Paso last week, did 1400 miles in 8 days. Total charge was $149. Got almost 30 mpg, and the car was actually pretty nice. Family of 5 fit just fine. The only issue was the tranny - the hills really confused it! But for that price, it was unbeatable. Must have been an 08, had a Nov in service date and 22k on it.

  • CommanderFish CommanderFish on Aug 13, 2008

    On the rare occasions where I've had to rent a car, I never really had a choice of a Chrysler product. Disclaimer - I never rent convertibles. Sebring 'verts have been on the list in most places, but outside of that, haven't seen many mopars at rentals.

  • MoparGuy MoparGuy on Dec 29, 2008

    You can't judge a car maker by one experience from an abused rental car or heresay. Personally, the worst "crapmobile" I've ever owned was a Toyota. That car was a total garage whore. Give Chrysler a chance. I did about 20 years ago, and have never been disappointed. It's amazing the nonsense being said out there about American cars. It's all part of that "cool image" of all-things-foreign; so bogus. (And no, I don't work for Chrysler. I just love their cars and trucks!) Chrysler = quality cars/trucks!