Anyone who has or the use of a rental car in recent months has noticed how expensive, limited in options and – sometimes – just downright unavailable they are . This reality of high prices and the lack of available vehicles has hit big cities and major tourist areas particularly hard.
But how did these challenges arise, and what can rental car companies do to address inventory shortages moving forward?
The drive-away team at ACERTUS outlined the top challenges facing rental car companies, as well as the solutions to navigate the current inventory environment until the supply chain is moving more rapidly again.
Many Vehicles Were Sold Off in 2020
With a lack of consumer demand for rental vehicles in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a lack of new inventory coming in due to plant closures around the globe at that time, many rental car companies had to make difficult decisions in terms of their inventory.
Many changed around their business models last year to offset the lack of rental business, which included selling off much of their vehicle inventory to individuals, retailers, auctions or others – with the anticipation that more would be available as soon as automakers ramped up car production again.
Global Inventory Shortage Has Continued
Even though car manufacturers started up new car production again earlier this year, there has been an ongoing inventory shortage due to the lack of critical vehicle parts like semiconductor chips. Because of this, retailers, auction houses and rental car companies have been buying up used-vehicle inventory wherever possible – including from customers themselves, in many cases – leading to an all-around vehicle shortage.
The lack of new inventory coming in, coupled with the low supply of vehicles rental car companies already had from the past year, has created a situation where these companies’ inventory supply is hugely depleted.
Demand is High, Especially in Tourism Hot Spots
On top of the lack of rental-car inventory, consumer demand for these vehicles went sky-high in recent months as vaccinations become widely available, travel and many people flocked to beaches, cities and other vacation hot spots. In fact, major tourism destinations like Hawaii, Florida, Arizona, New York, Alaska and elsewhere have seen both high demand for rental cars and a lack of available supply.
Rental car companies are working around-the-clock to keep up with the increased demand for vehicles, working to find inventory wherever it’s available, holding on to the vehicles they have for much longer periods of time and even moving inventory from various cities or towns across the country to more tourism-impacted locations with the greatest consumer demand.
How ACERTUS Can Help
It’s critical that rental car companies extend the lifecycle of their fleet. By keeping vehicles in top running condition, they hold onto them for extended periods of time – and this is exactly where a logistics provider ACERTUS can come in and help.
As rental companies look to reallocate existing inventory to high-demand markets around the country, they’ll need reliable, flexible and efficient transportation options. ACERTUS’ drive-away and car-haul services can assist in this process, transporting vehicles to where they’re needed, so rental car companies can better accommodate consumers’ demands and ensure their business strategies can be met.
In addition to transportation, ACERTUS can also help with storage facilities, keeping vehicles safely stored away whenever rental companies need this inventory held for . Or, if companies choose to move an increased number of vehicles to markets like those in major tourist areas, they may choose to keep vehicles in storage until they’re ready to be used or moved to lots.
Helping to extend the vehicle lifecycle further, ACERTUS also offers care-and-maintenance services. This type of service work can help with detaining, reconditioning or anything else a vehicle needs to be in top condition, so it can be sold, rented out and used for as long as a rental company requires.
The teams at ACERTUS will work in partnership with a rental car company on whichever services it requires, even setting up a unique logistics program that allows a company to meet its customers’ needs and successfully keep the rental-car supply chain moving.