Overall customer satisfaction with airport-based rental car companies in North America this year has declined sharply as a global shortage of new vehicles caused average prices to increase 58 percent during the last nine months, according to the J.D. Power 2021 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study.
During the 12 months from August 2020 to August 2021, customer satisfaction with rental companies fell to 830 on a 1,000-point scale based on a survey of 4,279 business and leisure travelers, down 11 points from the 2020 study. Enterprise ranked the highest this year at 861, followed by National (852) and Alamo (837).
Hertz, which took the top slot last year, fell to a fourth-place tie with Avis with 826 points. The company recently emerged from Chapter 11 with former Ford boss Mark Fields as interim CEO.
The decline in customer satisfaction comes amid a global shortage of new vehicles caused by supply chain issues with semiconductor computer chips. The problem led to customers reporting an average per-day price of $90.40 by the summer of this year.
“Rental car companies have been facing significant challenges, both in terms of vehicle supply and staffing—and a combination of rising costs and long lines at the airport is having a negative effect on customer satisfaction,” said J.D. Power travel intelligence lead Michael Taylor in a statement.
“The fact that the average price for vehicle rental is now above $90 sounds almost hard to believe, but I’ve seen instances in which a subcompact—booked a month in advance—cost $140 a day. Even when customers are aware of the macroeconomic challenges, their personal experiences quickly outweigh economic theory, and the result is lower customer satisfaction.”