Is There a Rental Car Shortage?

Is There a Rental Car Shortage?

The pandemic has caused many different industries, if not all industries, to go through a different set of struggles many have never had to experience before. For example, there is a chip shortage affecting every sector of tech and even the automotive industry. As a result, many businesses had to close down for months on end. This included rental car companies due to everyone staying home and avoiding travel. 

Several factors have created the perfect storm resulting in the rental car shortage that we see today. 

People Didn’t Need to Travel

Between March and May of 2020, different states began to issue mandatory stay-at-home orders affecting 73% of United States counties. Along with the fears of contracting COVID, these orders caused people not to travel unless necessary. 

When all of this happened, rental car companies took a huge hit. As a result, many of them sold off their inventory to make up for the loss of business. However, while the lack of demand lasted for almost an entire year, we are beginning to see that turnaround.

Companies began distributing the new vaccines at the end of 2020. About 50% of Americans have received one of the vaccines against COVID as summer travel began to ramp back up.  While this is good news for the general population, it has been somewhat of a nightmare for the rental car industry. 

The resurgence of travel has been too much for the rental industry to handle, and they cannot meet the climbing demand for cars. While all have been impacted by this, on our website, we make it easy for our customers to see if a rental is available at the location of their choice. No phone calls or in-person visits to deal with. Just a few clicks.  

Americans Want Out

After being cooped up indoors for over a year, Americans are going out in droves to new places. People visit family they haven’t seen in over a year or hit up Disneyland for some much-needed stress relief. 

On top of people wanting to travel and get out more, many have the cash to spend after receiving several stimulus checks from the government. 

The Semiconductor Shortage

The pandemic caused a shortage of semiconductors. Some may be surprised to hear that this has affected the rental car industry and car manufacturers. 

While many cars consisted mainly of mechanical parts twenty-to-thirty years ago, now almost everything in your vehicle is controlled by a computer. Ford Motors says that in July, they have to cut output to half of what they would typically produce in over six different assembly factories. 

Can you see how this is now having an impact on the rental car industry? As we mentioned before, the car rental companies were selling off large chunks of their fleets to keep their heads above water. However, now that there is a massive demand for rental cars, they cannot find any cars to buy to add to their fleet. Furthermore, many are saying that with the summer travel and the shortage of semiconductors for new vehicles, the deficit will worsen before it gets better. 

When it comes to the semiconductors being replenished, there is no light at the end of that tunnel just yet. Many tech companies have commented on the struggle this has brought their companies and that they don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Political Forces

All of this shows that recovery after the pandemic will not be as smooth as many people would have hoped. 

Another factor that has played into the struggle that rental car companies face is a political one. Many companies limited their lobbying, which meant that they were given any federal bailouts during the pandemic. 

This has left rental car companies with little to no resources to recoup after the significant loss of selling off their fleets. 

In contrast, you can look at the airline industry. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act totaled $2 trillion in relief for businesses, and $25 billion of it went to airlines. On top of that, they also received tax relief. On the other hand, rental car companies walked away with nothing from the relief act. 

Despite all the hardships our industry has gone through, we are thankful to be able to serve our loyal customers. 

Our Commitment to You

We here at Advantage Rent-a-Car are still here for you, the customer. We know we aren’t the only ones who have been affected by the pandemic, and that’s why we’ve put policies in place to serve you better. 

Things recently have been on the up and up, but we are constantly listening to the recommendations from the World Health Organization and functioning as the local governments see fit. The health of you and our staff is our number one priority. 

Taking Action

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have upped our sanitation guidelines in your future rental car and our staff’s facilities. In addition, we have honed in on the hot spots that are interacted with inside of vehicles to make sure that they are extra clean. These include seats, steering wheels, door handles, and other hard surfaces. 

At our facilities, we are taking action to guarantee that our employees are fully healthy before interacting with our clients. This includes asking workers who feel under the weather to stay at home, make an appointment with their healthcare provider, and getting tested for COVID as a precaution. 

At all of our facilities, we are also sure to clean and sanitize using only the best and most recognizable products to ensure your in-person visit is safe. 

Need to Change Something?

Let’s say that you make a reservation a week out from your event but then find out the day before that a COVID incident has gotten your event canceled. That’s not a problem at all. During these times, if you need to cancel a reservation or make a change, there are no additional fees. Call our support team, and we will be happy to accommodate you. 

Flexible for Your Convenience

As has been mentioned throughout this article, many people have been struck financially by the pandemic. Here at Advantage, we are taking that seriously and trying to be as helpful as we can be. For example, to give our customers more time to allocate funds for their trip, we have implemented the option to reserve a car now and pay at the time of picking up your vehicle. Just make sure to show up on your reservation date or let us know of any changes to your reservation. 

Why Advantage?

There has been a lot of doom and gloom talk so far about the car rental industry, but we can meet our customer’s needs and be here for you during these unprecedented times. Here are a few reasons why renting a car with us is worth it. 

Our Prices

Given all that we have discussed thus far, you would think that at Advantage, our prices would be sky-high, but that is far from the case. Because we are a discount car rental company, our prices are competitive, and we want to work with our customers to meet their traveling goals.  

Our Vehicles

Are you an individual wanting to rent a fuel-efficient, compact car across the country or a part of a large family heading to a family reunion?  Whatever the size of your party, we have a vehicle to meet your needs. Our vehicles range from compact cars great for singles and small families to 15 passenger vans perfect for teams traveling together. 

Whatever your needs are, we’ve got you covered. 

Our Locations

We are conveniently located at several major airports around the U.S., making it easy for you to travel across the country and still be able to return your car with ease. Are you planning a week-long trip to Disney World with the family? We’ve got you covered in Orlando. What about a weekend trip to Dallas to see the Cowboys play? Yep, we’ve got a location conveniently located at DFW. 

In Summary

In this article, we’ve discussed the different pieces at play that have led to the shortage of rental cars in the United States. The pandemic caused rental car companies to sell their fleets to recoup their losses; the politics of lobbying and the lack of semiconductors all played a part in the shortage. 

It can be easy to be discouraged by over a year of setbacks and challenges, but here at Advantage, we are committed to adjust and overcome, not only for our staff but for our

customers who have been a massive part of keeping us in the business of helping people connect. 


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