'Demand is through the roof': Alberta faces rental car shortage
The Alberta Motor Association says car rental companies are dealing with a shortage of vehicles after demand skyrocketed with the easing of restrictions.
Albertans resuming travel are having a difficult time finding a car to rent – some calling numerous rental companies before securing a vehicle. One Edmonton resident says he called nearly all major rental car companies and was told they were sold out.
“Enterprise, Hertz, they were all sold out. We kind of figured out as we called them that it is a shortage,” said Brian Javier.
With the high demand for rental cars, smaller-car companies are raising their prices by four times the regular amount, according to Randy Allan, Practicar owner.
“I have never seen it like this before. In fact, this time last year you could rent a car in Edmonton for $79 a week. Right now, you can’t find a car in Edmonton for $79 a day,” Allan said.
“You know rental companies downsize their fleets – we had to do the same thing. For a while we were selling cars to pay bills,” he added.
A combination of a microchip shortage, car shortage, and the resumption of travel created a troubling situation for major car rental companies, said Flavio Volpe, president of automotive parts manufacturers association.
“Right now is the hardest time to be a dealer in history, the hardest time to be a car buyer in history. It is probably the best time ever if you have a second car that you aren’t really using,” he said.
“This is not an insignificant event and it is not a local event – it is the whole country.”
AMA recommends travellers book in advance to avoid paying a premium or potentially not getting a car at all, as well as providing flexible travel dates and pick-up locations in order to increase availability