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Vehicles parked near Malaga Airport. File image. Ñito Salas
Costa del Sol car hire sector faces challenge of the lack of new vehicles

Costa del Sol car hire sector faces challenge of the lack of new vehicles

As the rental businesses predict a summer of high demand, they are asking customers to book vehicles well in advance as fleets are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels

Andrea Jiménez

Malaga

Tuesday, 6 June 2023, 12:31

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Customers wishing to hire a rental car on the Costa del Sol this summer are being urged to book well in advance as Malaga province deals with a shortage of new vehicles in the market. In 2022, some 50.7% fewer new rental vehicles were registered in the province than in the year before.

Out of stock vehicles at the manufacturers, long delivery times (sometimes more than a year), the lack of components and the exorbitant rise in prices are behind the problem that is affecting many car buyers in Spain.

The latest data from the sector shows a rental car fleet of about 40,000 vehicles in Malaga province. In 2022, some 50.7% fewer rental vehicles were registered than in the year before, dropping from 5,036 to 2,482, according to information provided by Feneval, the national business federation for vehicle rental. At a regional level, in Andalucía the sector closed 2022 with a total of 3,527 new vehicles registered, which represents a 40% drop compared to 2021.

Around 80% of car rental bookings made in Andalucía are made on Costa del Sol, but now it is facing a summer with a "massive" arrival of tourists, mainly from countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

The rental car industry was able to deal with demand over Easter when a wave of tourists arrived in the province during Semana Santa, but even more tourists are expected to arrive during the summer.

President of Feneval, Juan Luis Barahona, said: "The market and fleet availability is gradually recovering, but users must reserve their hire car as soon as possible”.

Faced with the lack of vehicles, he recently asked the Ministry of Industry, that 20% of all new stock available in Spain be reserved for the rental sector.

Ana María García, president of the association of car hire service businesses (Aesva) said the sector had not yet recovered since the pandemic.

"They have been very hard years, as we had to sell all the stock due to the paralysis of the activity and when we returned there were no cars to buy despite the fact that the demand was very high. We had to turn to the second-hand market and outside Spain,” she said.

"We don't have the same volume of cars as before the pandemic, so we may be struggling if there is an avalanche of bookings,” she added.

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