To represent ACCRO’s (the Associated Canadian Car Rental Operators) independent car and truck rental industry, the association has initiated the first of what will be a regular series of member surveys. The association will use the survey’s information to better inform communication with its members, the government, and current and potential suppliers.
When asked about customer demand, 31% of respondents that it’s lower than usual while 47% said it’s about the same. Only 22% responded that it’s busier than usual.
For revenue per day, 36% of respondents projected lower than first quarter 2022, 44% projected about the same as Q1 2022, and 20% projected higher than Q1 2022.
When asked about the biggest challenge faced today, 40% of respondents said finding vehicles, 20% said increased operating costs, 19% answered dropping used car values, 9% said hiring and retaining employees, and 4% responded with acquiring customers. And 16% of respondents answered with “other.” Comments for “other” were related to cost issues (damages, interest rates, etc.) and the anti-competitive environment relating to insurance replacement rentals.
In the first member survey, ACCRO received 45 responses out of 215 survey requests. While it’s only a 25% response rate, the association said it can start making some generalizations based on the responses received. Out of the 45 responses, 19 companies (42%) operate fleets over 100 vehicles, while another 15 (33%) respondents operate fleets in the 26 to 100 vehicles range. The responses received suggest a combined fleet from the respondents of over 3,000 vehicles.
One objective of this first survey was to develop a more accurate picture of the independent car rental companies relative to the entire Canadian car and truck rental industry. Recently, Enterprise Holdings issued a press release celebrating the 30th anniversary of its Canadian operations and disclosed its Canadian fleet has 96,000 vehicles. The other major rental brands don’t break out their Canadian fleet size from their “Americas” operations.
“Our goal is to build active engagement with our members, but we need to respect the demands on their time so this and future surveys will be brief,” said Craig Hirota, ACCRO’s vice president of government relations and member services. “Although a relatively small sample size, we received responses from ACCRO members across the country. General business sentiment regarding revenue and customer demand was slightly negative compared to the first quarter of 2022. Although not completely unexpected given tough comparisons with 2022’s unprecedented strength in both revenue and demand, mild winter weather in many parts of Canada this year confound customer demand experiences due to a decrease in insurance replacement business.”
“The continued scarcity of vehicles available to rental fleets and the persistence of increased costs suggests an adaptation of traditional rental car business cycles to a new, not transitory reality,” Hirota added.