The great Australian roadtrip is in jeopardy thanks to the Covid pandemic and a global shortage of cars, with rental prices more than double what they were in 2019.
It’s long been tradition for friends and families across Australia to pack up a car for summer and head out on the road to experience our wild country.
But two years of travel restrictions and closed borders – which triggered a global manufacturing crisis – means Aussies hoping to rent a car are facing soaring prices.
GoSee, an aggregate site that lets customers compare thousands of rental cars across Australia and worldwide, crunched the numbers on rentals across the nation.
And the company, which is part of the WebJet group, has quickly seen increased car hire prices across both their large and small suppliers.
GoSee chief product officer Phil Wright said hiring a car now would on average cost Aussies “more than double” what they were paying back in 2019.
“We’re seeing average prices for car hire in Australia in the last two weeks are more than double what they were in the same period in 2019 pre-Covid,” he told news.com.au.
“This holds true in locations across Australia and across all vehicle types, to varying degrees.”
Mr Wright said the trend was obvious across the country.
“For example, the average daily rate of a compact car from Hobart Airport was $63 in 2019 and is $159 today,” he said.
“The average daily rate of an SUV in Melbourne was $51 in 2019 and is $104 today.
“And even lesser-known locales like Ballina Airport are seeing big increases, with the average daily rate of an SUV more than doubling from $65 in 2019 to $131 today.”
Tasmania has had the biggest price hike, but regardless of where tourists travel in Australia, they can expect a cost of at least $100 a day to hire a car.
And to rent a car in Sydney, the average daily rate for a compact car was $45 in 2019, compared to $111 this year.
Mr Wright warned customers to be ready to fork out extra cash for their rental and also to organise it well in advance – as limited supply meant companies were already having no supply over summer.
“As the higher prices are being driven by limited vehicle availability, customers should not only be prepared that they may have to pay more, but that rental cars may actually sell out in top locations during peak periods like Christmas,” he said.
“We’d encourage customers to try and book well in advance if possible to ensure their holiday travel plans aren’t disrupted.
“Using aggregator sites like goseetravel.com will enable you to check out pricing and vehicle availability across dozens of car hire companies all in one place to find the best deal.”
Rental companies are trying to make up the shortfall, with companies across Australia buying more than 890,000 cars in the past year.
But the entire car industry is in the midst of a severe parts shortage that has forced car makers to halt production and slash exports to Australia.
The issue comes down to a shortage of semiconductors – a tiny, but vital item that is essential in modern cars.
Semiconductors power a range of items such as a car’s touchscreen, engine mapping and crash avoidance technology. One car could have as many as 100 semiconductors on-board.
Toyota, Australia’s highest selling car brand, has been one of the worst affected in recent months.
Toyota Australia executive Sean Hanley apologised to customers for the extended wait times back in October.
“Toyota understands your frustration, and I sincerely apologise for these delays,” he said at the time. “I want to thank you for your patience and assure you we are doing everything we can to get you behind the wheel of your new Toyota as soon as possible.”
– with Dom Tripolone
This article originally appeared on news.com.au and was reproduced with permission.