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Rent a car this summer on the beach: few and very expensive | Economy

Few and very expensive. Victoria Marcos, 55, had booked a week in a hotel in the north of Mallorca with the flights already purchased when she decided to consult the main car rental portals. Her idea was to move around the island and go on excursions. She until she saw the prices. At about 90 euros per day – with very little notice, yes – the vehicle was more expensive than the hotel week with half board. Finally, through several acquaintances, she managed to get a person who hardly used the car to lend it to her: “It was not worth renting.”

The fleet of rental vehicles in the Balearic Islands has been reduced by 40% this summer compared to the years prior to the pandemic. This high season there are some 74,000 units circulating on the islands, compared to the 120,000 that populated the roads before the covid. The reduction is mainly due to a significant lack of reserves of vehicles in the large rental companies, which are also dedicated to exporting the units once the summer is over. Automakers have canceled orders due to the slowdown in manufacturing chains due to the lack of semiconductors worldwide, to which the delays in the arrival of some units due to the transporters’ strike were added at Easter. The lack of available vehicles and high demand have pushed prices up.

“We have been suffering for 15 years from exporters who offer car rentals at five euros a day because their ultimate goal is subsequent export to France and Germany, but in order to do so they have to have the car rented for six months. Now those fees are gone. There are cars, but not at those prices” says Ramón Reus, president of the Balearic Association of Vehicle Rental Companies with and without Driver (Aevab). He says that some companies have not been able to complete their fleets because they demand so many vehicles that, with the cuts in car production, manufacturers have been unable to complete the supply. This shortage of supply, and also the increase in the price of new vehicles for businessmen, have had an impact on the rate that customers end up paying.

At Ibacar, a local car rental company with offices in northern Mallorca, its manager Catalina Martorell says that manufacturers have canceled 20% of their orders and have been forced to raise rates due to the lack of available units. . “We have raised prices by 50% because we have fewer cars. Despite everything, we are offering a small car for about 70 euros per day, a figure far removed from the savagery charged by the airport offices where they are asking for barbarities, ”she points out. The high cost of fees at airports, precisely, has increased advance reservations by 40% in small local companies, which barely worked with 10% of clients with prior reservations before the pandemic. To avoid this year’s problems, SMEs are already closing the list of car orders from factories for next season, which is usually done in December or January.

Half in Andalusia

The same situation is experienced in other tourist communities. Ana María García, president of the Andalusian Rental Vehicle Services Business Association (Aesva), explains that during the pandemic, companies in the sector had to get rid of a large part of their cars to obtain liquidity due to the lack of income. “No one came and the costs of maintaining the fleet were high, so many units had to be sold to pay expenses such as templates,” she says. Now that they have regained stability, the problem is that they cannot acquire vehicles. “The factories take a long time to serve any request and they give priority to individuals, so it is very difficult. We need to buy cars, but they don’t sell them to us, ”she stresses.

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At Malaga airport, the queues in front of the rental offices are long. For many, the wait is useless, because without a reservation, they rarely find the vehicle they want or the price has skyrocketed to unaffordable figures. “The tourists have returned, but we have to tell many of them that there are no cars,” says García, who believes that the lack of mobility is a major setback for tourist destinations such as the Malaga coast. “It’s like if you go to a restaurant and it doesn’t have food. Our raw material is cars and there is no ”, he insists. That is why the ones that exist have exorbitant prices.”

The head of Aesva affirms that the sector is operating with half the fleet than before the pandemic, although she does not specify the figures. And she is not enough to meet all the demand. The Costa del Sol brings together 80% of all Andalusian rental vehicles. The area is registering tourist figures similar to those of 2019, when it broke records. Last January, the public company Turismo Costa del Sol presented its forecasts for 2022 and already pointed out that the situation would be similar to the year before the start of the pandemic: 10.7 million tourists and a turnover of 13,780 million euros are expected. , as announced by the president of the Provincial Council, Francisco Salado.

In Palma, the latest storm has sent the car of Esther Vicens, 40, to the workshop, who has spent a week without an alternative that allows her to take her son to school and then go to work. The manufacturer of her vehicle has a long waiting list for a replacement car because they have no units available and her attempts to rent have fallen on deaf ears because they exhausted her budget. “I can’t pay 80 euros a day for a car when I’m still going to need it for several weeks,” she says. The only possibility: to go on foot everywhere.

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