Rental car companies issue warning as supply issues bite

If you're planning on renting a car for your summer roadie, you might be out of luck.

Rental car companies are facing a severe lack of stock as they struggle to get more cars post-pandemic. 

The shortage has prompted some of the country's largest rental companies to temporarily pause new bookings.

Rental Vehicle Association Ben McFadgen told AM the country currently has around half the fleet it would normally need for summer. 

"It is improving but we are still sitting below 40,000 and we usually need around about 65,000 during our peak season," McFadgen told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

He warned tourists returning to New Zealand post-pandemic is likely to exacerbate the issue even more. 

"We've got far more tourists than we have supply. And that is not just happening in the rental vehicle sector but it's also happening in the tour bus sector, for example."

McFadgen said car manufacturers are also prioritising private sales because they make more money which is only making things worse. 

"If you think about where New Zealand is in the world as well, we are at the other end of it. There are other markets auto manufacturers can target and with less investment on their part… So we're at the end of the list, unfortunately."

And as for when the country will be back at its full capacity, McFadgen said he isn't sure. He said issues like COVID-19 and Russia's invasion of Ukraine are making it difficult for manufacturers. 

"We got China, we've got COVID-19 still doing the rounds, obviously, there's Ukraine and all of those things are having an impact on the auto manufacturers ability to supply vehicles.

"For example when Ukraine started to go south, a lot of the electronic control units and wiring looms for a lot of the manufacturers were made in the Ukraine, and so they had to sort of try and find an alternative supply. 

"That's obviously affected the amount of cars that they can manufacture. So there's a lot of catch-up. In terms of our fleet, I would say we're looking at at least 2 to 3 years, if not maybe longer. And it really depends on what happens overseas," he added. 

Watch the full interview above.