Hoping to hire a automobile this summer season? Good luck

Taylor Raggers and her companion, Will Perry, have been wanting ahead to their honeymoon in Newfoundland this summer season earlier than they realized they’d haven’t any manner of getting across the province.

The couple, who stay in Port Hope, Ont., tried to ebook a automobile again in February for a visit they deliberate to soak up late June however have been out of luck.

“I in all probability known as 5 or 6 locations after which something on-line that I may discover, they usually [all had] nothing obtainable,” Raggers stated.

The shortage of automobile leases means Raggers is not going to have the ability to discover Perry’s dwelling province and meet relations residing there. As an alternative, the couple will likely be hitting the highway in their very own car for a better vacation spot: Nova Scotia.

“Will actually wished to point out me the place his household was from. And I actually wished to see Newfoundland. It is large on my bucket listing,” she stated.

Taylor Raggers, proper, and her companion, Will Perry, left, proven with their daughter Delilah Perry, have been planning on travelling to Newfoundland in June for his or her honeymoon however could not discover a automobile rental within the province. In order that they’ve determined to drive their very own car to Nova Scotia as an alternative. (Hope Daybreak Images)

Historical past is repeating itself as final summer season’s “carpocalypse” makes a return. With journey selecting up and extra Canadians planning to get out this summer season because the pandemic eases, automobile rental firms try to safe extra autos, stated Craig Hirota, vice-president of presidency relations and member providers for the Related Canadian Automobile Rental Operators.

“Our greatest estimates present we’re in all probability nonetheless 15 to twenty per cent down from pre-pandemic numbers,” Hirota stated.

The place’s my chip? 

Earlier this month, Statistics Canada launched the primary in a sequence of reviews on the rental car business, with the primary specializing in British Columbia.

The report discovered that the scale of rental automobile fleets within the province dropped by greater than 30 per cent in 2020. And whereas fleets began to recuperate in 2021, they didn’t return wherever near pre-pandemic ranges as firms struggled to search out autos.

A significant contributor to the scarcity of automobile leases is the gradual tempo of recent car manufacturing. Automobile producers have been backlogged on manufacturing as they proceed to face a semiconductor chip scarcity, a component mandatory for digital expertise.

“That was exacerbated by the truth that our business needed to pare down our fleets … when demand dropped in March 2020,” the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hirota stated.

Montreal-based automobile rental firm AutoPlateau is experiencing this precise problem. Gabriel Raymond, who works for the corporate that’s owned by his household, stated it needed to downsize its fleet when the pandemic hit. Now, because it tries to broaden, Raymond stated it is troublesome to search out vehicles.

“The automobile producers are working out of chips for the vehicles. So automobile sellers are working out of vehicles. So automobile rental firms aren’t capable of renew their fleet,” he stated.

Gabriel Raymond, proper, proven together with his grandfather, Rodrigue Desrosiers, the proprietor of AutoPlateau, says the automobile rental firm has been serving to clients who’ve been struggling to search out automobile leases elsewhere. (CBC)

However Raymond stated the corporate has been capable of climate the scarcity as a result of it retains autos round for longer, opting to repair them up as an alternative of changing them.

Regardless of having no advertising and marketing price range, he stated AutoPlateau has attracted clients who haven’t any luck securing automobile leases elsewhere.

“It is [stressful] as a result of we have now a number of demand coming in from in every single place that we would not have in any other case as a result of we’re a small firm,” Raymond stated, including that the corporate depends on phrase of mouth to draw clients.


The scarcity of leases has considerably jacked up the price of renting a car. Based on Statistics Canada, costs for rental autos rose by 30 per cent in 2021, whereas the general inflation fee sat at 3.4 per cent.

Hirota stated the upper price of renting a automobile is partly as a result of demand is outpacing provide, and inflation is pushing up the price of vehicles and repairs. 

Planning journey this summer season

With summer season in sight and most COVID-19 restrictions lifted throughout the nation, tourism is anticipated to select up once more. The World Commerce and Tourism Council is forecasting that the contribution to GDP from Canada’s journey and tourism sector may rebound to $157 billion (Cdn) in 2023, simply 0.8 per cent under pre-pandemic ranges.

Which means extra travellers, akin to Taylor Raggers, will likely be seeking to snatch a automobile rental.

Raymond recommends that travellers who’re hoping to hire a automobile this summer season make plans as quickly as potential and to watch out for firms that overbook.

“Overbooking, particularly in [a] excessive demand interval, means they will put extra clients on the identical automobile,” he stated.

Some travellers are additionally turning to a much less typical transportation possibility: car-sharing.

Much like Airbnb, car-sharing providers enable individuals to hire out their autos to others. American car-sharing firm Turo says its providers are serving to clients safe autos amid the rental scarcity.

“What we’re seeing is that our Turo hosts are stepping in to fill the void,” stated Cedric Mathieu, the vice-president and head of Canada at Turo.

Mathieu stated the peer-to-peer mannequin of car-sharing is extra versatile than a automobile fleet mannequin, which faces challenges when it wants to extend or lower the variety of autos obtainable for hire.

Cedric Mathieu is the vice-president and head of Canada at Turo, a U.S.-based car-sharing firm. Turo presently has greater than 50,000 autos obtainable in additional than 350 cities throughout Canada. (CBC)

“Because the demand began surging again up, we’re capable of purchase and persuade extra hosts to hitch,” he stated.

Turo presently has greater than 50,000 autos obtainable in additional than 350 cities throughout the nation. Most not too long ago, the corporate has expanded to Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

As for when a restoration for the automobile rental business will be anticipated, Hirota of the Related Canadian Automobile Rental Operators stated it is onerous to foretell, given how rapidly issues can change. However whereas automobile producers proceed to ramp up manufacturing, he stated challenges are nonetheless more likely to persist for the following couple of years.

“I believe it will stay a problem to get autos by the approaching 12 months and probably the following 12 months after that,” he stated.

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