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Car rental demand rising on National Holidays

2012-09-06 16:01     Web Editor: Mo Hong'e comment

If you're thinking about driving a rented car during the upcoming National holidays, you'd better place an order quickly. Car rental companies nationwide are reporting they are running out of inventory and raising prices due increased demand.

As the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays are only weeks away, car rental companies are busy receiving orders from customers. Business insiders say the auto rental market has been heating up for the past few years, and companies have all seen the demand rising sharply. Shao Wei is public relations director at eHi Car Rental Company.

"Last year, we opened the booking window for the national holidays at the beginning of the September. All the popular rentals were booked up by mid-September. We opened the window earlier this year in June, and now 65 percent of all of our cars are booked."

To meet the rising demand in recent years, car rental companies have been strengthening inventories. eHi company, for an example, has purchased more than 10 thousand mid-range passenger cars nationwide and the number in Beijing is three times higher than last year.

Industry insiders say there are various factors pushing up the demand, among which is the recent State Council notice that suspending highway toll fees on passenger cars during the holidays including the National Day holiday. Ms. Chen thinks she can make use of the benefits.

"I enjoy driving myself on tours. And with the toll fees lifted, I think I could save at least 1,000 yuan for this year's travel plan."

Aside from the highway free-pass, car rental companies have also made some adjustments to their contracts to bring in more customers. One is the cancellation of the daily travel mileage limit. In the past, if you drove longer than 180 to 350 kilometers a day you would end up paying about 2 yuan for each extra kilometer. But now many car rental companies have abolished the clause so that customers can travel further without having to keep an eye on the odometer.

However, following the sky-rocketing demand are jumps in prices. Li Shisong is manager of Shouqi Car Rental Company.

"Rentals for a Peugeot 308 are usually around 200 yuan per day during work days, but during the national holidays the price will go up to 300 yuan a day."

Shao from eHi Car Rental suggests customers plan their trip and place orders as early as possible since the pricing system works like hotels and airlines; the earlier you make an order, the cheaper the price.

If you plan to rent one soon, Shao suggests you check prices and availability on the Internet or call before going to a rental agency.

"You can go to the official website, download our car rental app to your smartphone or call our car rental hotline to check the inventory before going into shops. Make sure they have the car you want and compare prices."

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