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Forums » Car Rental, Bus & Rail » The aging car rental fleet

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drfumblefinger

The aging car rental fleet

by drfumblefinger »

I've noticed over the past few years that my odds of getting a newer car rental have dropped greatly.  In fact, it's not uncommon to get cars with 30,000 and 40,000 miles when you pick up a car rental.

With that, you get the potential problems of a heavily used car -- worn tires, aging battery, etc -- that might cause problems on the road.  I've never had major problems with a car rental, but can see the potential pitfalls with this.  Not sure what to do about it, but it definitely is a trend.

Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney did a nice write up on this worth a look:  http://blogs.wsj.com/middleseat/2013/08/29/rental-car-odometer-shockers/

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kringenwally

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by kringenwally »

I guess what the good doctor complains about is full-price rentals from majors where you'd expect low-mileage new cars?

I saved a lot of money in NZ by renting an older car from an independent company. I ran the battery down, a newer one might have lasted longer, but it was entirely my fault, we needed roadside assistance (free) to get a jolt, no biggie. Also rented an older model in Tasmania and loved the savings. So as long as the "older" is part of the deal, I have nothing against it. You can always look at the tires if that worries you...

 

 

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PHeymont

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by PHeymont »

Actually, Wally's strategy will get easier soon: Hertz is creating a new brand, Firefly, that will operate in many cities, renting cars that in other years Hertz would have sold or turned back from lease--now they'll rent them another year or two under the new brand. It's Hertz replacement for the Advantage low-end brand they were forced to sell off to get approval for acquiring Dollar Thrifty.

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drfumblefinger

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by drfumblefinger »

The point of the Wall Street Journal article is that some car rentals from major brands are not providing people with the cars they expect.  If I rent a car from Hertz or Avis, for example, I expect a fairly new and reliable car.  Yes, any car can have problems but things like dead or severely corroded batteries, or blow-outs from worn tires are not things you expect from these major brands.  They are happening with greater frequency as the rental car market ages -- across the board.

I actually like Hertz's solution -- a subdivision known as "Firefly", as PHeymont outlines.  These older cars should be cheaper than newer cars.  If that's clear up front then I have no problems with this type of marketing.  I, too, have rented older vehicles and they performed well because they were well maintained.  I did get a price break for renting them because they were older.  If I were a business man rushing from the airport to get to a meeting, I'd want a new and warrantied car to make sure I made my meeting, even if it costs a few bucks more.  

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PHeymont

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by PHeymont »

I'm hoping that the Firefly idea would not put me at risk of worn tires or badly corroded batteries--you shouldn't run into them at any price, and the tires are a real liability question.

What I'd hope for in an older rental is that it has been maintained at least as well as I maintain my cars (05 Camry and an 11 Corolla that replaced a 92 Camry, so you know I'm not buying new every year). Well-maintained cars can last a long time, and if I can benefit by renting one that no longer makes it in the "must be new" market, I will...but it must be safe and reliable.

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drfumblefinger

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by drfumblefinger »

I'm sure you use your cars 'gently', Pheymont.  That is not true of rental cars.  They are often driven hard and generally for many hundreds of miles in a day -- certainly several thousand miles a week is far from unheard of.  And the fleet does not sit idol.  Cars roll in and out all the time, often with little more than a superficial cleaning and little inspection or maintenance.  

Cars have never been built to last longer than now, but give a rental a good once-over before you pull out.

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PHeymont

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by PHeymont »

I not only kick the tires...I take pictures as insurance against false damage claims later.

Granted that the fleets do get driven more in a year than I would, but I've always felt that at least the majors had competent and regular maintenance. Hope I've not been wrong!

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drobert360

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by drobert360 »

For a number of years, auto companies (the manufacturers) used rental firms as a buffer for production (GM, Chrysler and Ford all did deals ... Europe the same way with Fiat, Renault, etc.). When retail sales slowed, they dumped excess production into the rental firms (and fleet leasing firms as well). This renewed the rental fleets and moved older cars into the "previously owned" lots of dealers.  There was always a fine balance.  With retail sales of new cars now improving ... new cars are not flowing into the rental end to the same degree (no need). 

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GarryRF

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by GarryRF »

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PHeymont

RE: The aging car rental fleet

by PHeymont »

Garry...if I had no other reason to go to Cuba, this would be enough!

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