How the pandemic, elevated journey and flooding have created a rental automobile scarcity in southwestern La. Enterprise

An ideal issue storm led to a rental automobile scarcity in southwest Louisiana.

The latest contributor to the native scarcity arrived this week within the type of flooding that despatched tons of of individuals on the lookout for momentary replacements for water-powered automobiles.

“Everyone seems to be presently able the place the telephones are ringing off the hook,” mentioned Eric Stroderd, normal supervisor of Auto Rental And so forth. “I’ve extra individuals calling now than ever, and I do not actually have any recommendation for these trying. It is like attempting to provide recommendation to somebody who cannot afford to purchase. gasoline in his city. All you are able to do is go to all of the gasoline stations. We simply inform individuals to choose up the telephone and name each rental company. It could be value it to attempt native automobile rental corporations, unbiased companies, as a result of individuals often go to nationwide franchises first ”.

Saleswoman Cathy Blanchard tells a buyer that there aren’t any automobiles to hire from Auto Rental And so forth * on Thursday Might 20, 2021 in Lafayette, La.

A Friday morning survey of Avis, Funds, Enterprise, Hertz and Nationwide web sites confirmed that not one of the corporations had rental automobiles out there in Lafayette or Lake Charles.

This week’s flooding has solely elevated demand for rental automobiles and new and used automobiles. Automotive rental corporations already had low inventories, as a result of sale of automobiles in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide chain disruptions that additionally hampered new and used automobile batches.

The issues began final 12 months when rental corporations offered automobiles to generate revenue within the early months of the pandemic, when holidays and enterprise journey had been just about non-existent. Auto manufacturing has additionally slowed in the course of the pandemic. Then, when automobiles began to be constructed once more, producers needed to decelerate manufacturing attributable to a world scarcity of microchips. Producers have prioritized supplying automobiles to dealerships, the place they make a larger revenue from particular person buyer gross sales, slightly than restocking fleets for rental automobile corporations and others that purchase in excessive volumes. automobiles at lowered costs.

As restrictions from the times of the pandemic relaxed and vaccines grew to become extensively out there, People started to journey once more, however noticed a scarcity of obtainable rental automobiles. Others, with further stimulus funds of their financial institution accounts, discovered few new automobiles at dealerships and used automobiles promoting for about the identical value as their newer counterparts.

“I’ve by no means seen the worth of used automobiles enhance,” mentioned Bob Giles, CEO of Giles Automotive Group. “We see automobiles at public sale going wholesale, which is what dealerships often promote. I have been within the enterprise my entire life, and I’ve by no means seen used automobiles enhance in worth a lot.

Giles owns Nissan dealerships in Lafayette and Opelousas, a Subaru dealership in Lafayette, and Volvo dealerships in Lafayette and El Paso, Texas. It additionally operates a automobile rental service by way of its Nissan sellers.

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In contrast to Acadiana’s different rental companies, Giles has not been utterly erased from its stock of 115 leases. About 25% of them had been nonetheless out there for rent on Thursday midday.

“There’s a scarcity of leases, however we’ve got some availability,” mentioned Giles. “I am certain it is as a result of in plenty of instances individuals do not consider us in terms of renting a automobile.”

At Auto Rental And so forth., a division of Don’s Automotive Group, all 450 automobiles within the fleet had been leased this week.


Keys and rental agreements lie on the counter whereas ready for patrons to choose up from Auto Rental And so forth * on Thursday, Might 20, 2021 in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Demand has been properly above provide for nearly two months, mentioned Stroderd, main Auto Rental And so forth. to shut on-line reservations from Thursday to Sunday every week. Now, after the flooding this week, there are ready lists of shoppers on the rental firm, which has branches in Lafayette and Lake Charles.

Some individuals may discover rental automobiles with larger miles and extra bumps than normal attributable to overwhelming demand and more and more busy physique retailers. With out the power to purchase new fleets and promote current stock, there are extra upkeep bills for rental corporations and better rental charges for patrons.

“Each every so often a buyer leads to a unclean automobile as a result of he does not care. He comes to choose her up instantly it doesn’t matter what, ”Stroderd mentioned. “The service and physique retailers are full. I’ve to ship drivers to Lake Charles to get automobiles to get them fastened in Lafayette, then convey them again to Lake Charles. Vehicles are going to have extra dents and bumps than normal if you simply cannot sustain with demand. “

Editor Timothy Boone contributed to this report.

$ 20 million allotted for Lafayette emergency drainage initiatives, together with one-time dredging of the Vermilion River

Suspenders already soaked within the Charles Lake space for extra rain; ‘I believe we have to get nearer to God’

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