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Portugal Car Hire Shortage - Is An Apocalypse Coming?

Following a recent article in Forbes, predicting a ‘car rental apocalypse’ following fleet shortages across the US as struggling car rental suppliers off-loaded fleets when the pandemic struck. The problem faced now is that those same rental agents are not able to secure new stock to meet a surge in demand as the US eases restrictions.

portugal car hire shortage apocolypse
Empty car rental lots are widely expected this summer

The motor industry has seen its own struggles with closed factories and now ECU shortages (caused by the global microchip draught) meaning that new cars are not rolling off the production line in the numbers required to replenish fleets. All this is building to what Forbes describe as an ‘apocalypse’ and seems the perfect storm for driving prices higher as demand returns.

Is Portugal staring at its own car rental apoloclypse?

As European travel looks set to resume with lockdown restrictions easing, news has leaked that Portugal is set to be Europe’s hotspot for tourism in 2021. The country has handled the pandemic well and has very low case rates and whilst has always featured in Europe’s most popular summer holiday destinations, 2021 could see it top the bill. As other popular summer holiday hotspots such as Spain, France and Italy are still reporting high case numbers and local lockdowns, Portugal looks set to benefit and is widely expected to be on the ‘Green’ list from the UK government in its traffic light system due to be announced shortly – prompting a surge in demand.

What does this mean for car hire in Portugal?

It’s hard to imagine that we won’t see a spike in demand for car hire in Portugal as we envisage the same scenario playing out as is across the USA right now. This time 12 months ago, rental agents across Portugal were consolidating their fleets, bracing themselves for a summer season like no others and whilst few saw the pandemic stretching well into the 2021 summer season, reinvesting in new fleets at the turn of the year would have been a brave decision. The shortage of new vehicles from major manufacturers compounds the issue and as such we expect prices to rise as demand likely to outstrip supply.

Marketing Manager Phil Partridge comments: “Whilst it’s been a very difficult trading year for all in the travel industry, the sudden surge in demand could well catch out those expecting a last minute deal. We expect prices to reflect demand in Portugal and recommend booking as early as possible to secure your car. We last witnessed something similar in the summer of 2009 following the credit crunch with the car hire shortage across Spain where prices rocketed by as much as 500% as fleets were cut in anticipation of reduced demand which didn’t bear out.”

Search car hire prices in Portugal here
Phil Partridge
Posted: May 06, 2021 by Phil Partridge
About the Author -

Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Rhinocarhire.com Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

Last updated: Thursday, May 6, 2021
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