Rental Car Shortage Predicted in Europe

As the holiday season approaches, European car rental booking site is warning customers to book their holiday rentals now, as there might be a shortage of rental cars during the busy Christmas 2009/2010 travel season.

From a press release issued Nov. 11:

    The company is predicting a repeat of this summer's shortfall when thousands of last minute customers were disappointed to find little or no availability in holiday hotspots in Spain and Portugal. A combination of a downturn in the motor manufacturing industry and car rental agencies being forced to sell on fleets because banks were reluctant to finance new vehicles ensured that the shortages were widespread. Up to 450 of the company's car rental suppliers were affected by the cuts.

    Over the coming weeks, similar severe shortages are expected to hit popular winter sun favourites including Cape Town and Tenerife, as well as ski and winter sports destinations like Geneva.

    Commenting on the situation, Argus Car Hire's Online Brand Manager Barry Malone said:

    "To re-iterate the message we sent out earlier this year, those who need a rental car over the coming weeks must book early. It's all down to supply and demand. Over the summer, last minute bookers had no choice but to pay inflated rates or be left without a car. With families heading off on ski and winter sun breaks, as well as people returning home for Christmas, this is one of our busiest periods of the year. It is hoped that the industry will have picked up in time for next summer, but for the time being, early booking is essential for the best rates and availability this Christmas."

Car shortage notwithstanding, listed rates for rentals in November for a seven-day rental of an economy car appear reasonable in most cities. Cars in London and Barcelona and Tenerife can be rented from £15 per day.

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