Vacationers face car rental prices up to three times higher than pre-pandemic levels, mainly due to a lack of vehicles.

Since the Covid-19 hit Europe in early 2020, many rental companies have reduced the number of cars in their fleets.

Now, with the return of tourism, companies are trying to increase these levels, but face the challenge of manufacturers producing fewer cars due to a global semiconductor shortage.

With an insufficient number of cars to meet growing demand, rental car prices have risen dramatically and are expected to remain so until next summer.

Colm Brady, managing director of Europcar Mobility Group Ireland, said there would be a shortage of nearly 4 million cars in the global market.

“It is envisioned that in some traditionally high demand areas there will likely be an insufficient number of cars to meet actual demand.”

On a popular price comparison site, a five-seater economy car, rented for two weeks at Rome Airport will cost between around € 900 and € 1,300, well above pre-pandemic levels of € 250. at 350 €.

Car rental is no different from other industries related to the travel and leisure industry, such as airlines and hotels, says Brady.

Supply and demand

“Prices at any given time reflect the relationship between supply and demand. The advice we would give is if you need a rental car soon, plan ahead, ”he said.

Mr Brady said bookings of late have been very last minute, with the vast majority being made within days of travel.

“If you’re looking for prices that reflect what you’ve experienced in previous years, you’ll need to book in advance and possibly avoid high-demand areas.

“Prices will certainly not double, but there will be increases in some destinations. We are very sensitive to price fluctuations and pride ourselves on providing world class service with excellent value for money, ”added Mr. Brady.

It is not just rental cars that have been affected by the changes in the market.

According to a Cartell.ie survey, the average used car is worth 16% more today than last year.

This is due, once again, to a shortage of parts as well as Brexit and other factors.

Jeff Aherne, Innovation Lead, Cartell.ie, described the situation as “the perfect storm”, adding that they had never seen anything like it since Cartell.ie was founded in 2006.

The global semiconductor shortage hampering auto manufacturing has led the Renault group, Stellantis, Skoda and Ford, all to suspend production at European factories.

Earlier this week, Renault confirmed it would suspend production at one site in France and two in Morocco and Romania.

The current global semiconductor shortage is expected to reduce the company’s annual output by 500,000 cars this year.

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