By Brian Wafula
With the grounding of most commercial passenger planes due to the outbreak of coronavirus and travelers staying at home, airports have now turned into virtual ghost towns.
Rental car companies have taken a huge hit during the coronavirus pandemic as well. On Friday Hertz, which also operates the Kayak and Avis Car Rental agencies in Kenya, declared itself bankrupt.
It is thus expected that the company will sell off a large portion of its fleet. And that should bring about some deals car shoppers might very well want to consider.
Even when we were not in an economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, Kayak revised its rental package prices downwards as well as Avis which reduced its price rates. You could as well find a good deal on a used car at one of the major car rental agencies, including PTG.
Rental car companies routinely sell off cars, usually after a year or two of service. Commercialization of the rental car industry has been of much bottle-necks as it has been forced to ground most of its fleet to a near halt.
All of the major car rental companies — Hertz, PTG, Avis, Budget and others, provide a list of their used rental cars for sale on their web sites. You can look out for their inventories and test drives which are usually much more generous than you’ll find at any known used car dealers.
Potential car buyers can also “rent to own” their preferred car. Hertz’s Rent2Buy program offers three-day rentals for prospective buyers who can then buy the car if they like it.
But again the idea of buying a used rental car makes some people feel uneasy. The car may have had a tough life as car renters have little obligation to treat a car gently, the thinking goes. Rental cars also often drive more miles in a year than cars owned or leased by an individual.
On the other hand, rental car companies have an incentive to maintain the cars well to preserve as much value in them as possible and to make sure their customers don’t have issues with them.
If you are a potential car buyer, you should also research vehicles just as they would before buying any used car. Some used cars are just better and more reliable than others no matter where they’re purchased.
I would also recommend buying from one of the major rental car companies rather than a smaller entity. That’s because smaller rental car companies may be selling cars that were already used when they took them into business.
You should also research your financing options before buying.
Again, that’s always a good practice regardless of where you’re buying the car. The rental companies often have good financing options for customers with excellent credit.
Hertz and Avis Budget Group did not return requests seeking answers to specific questions about their operations and their fleets for sale.