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Rental Car Customer Satisfaction Drops as Vehicle Shortage Causes Prices to Surge, J.D. Power Finds

Overall customer satisfaction with North American airport-based rental car companies declines significantly this year as a global shortage of new vehicles caused prices to increase 58% during the last nine months of the study. The J.D. Power 2021 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study which tracked customer experience with rental car companies between August 2020 and August 2021­finds that the average customer-cited price-per-day rental fee rose to $90.40 by the summer of this year. During the 12 months of the study, overall customer satisfaction declined a total of 11 points (on a 1,000-point scale).

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 Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “The fact that the average price per day 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.”

Study Ranking
Enterprise ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction, with a score of 861. National (852) ranks second and Alamo (837) ranks third. Overall customer satisfaction for the industry is 830, down from 841 in 2020.

The 2021 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study is based on responses gathered from September 2020 through August 2021 from 4,279 business and leisure travelers who rented a vehicle at an airport location from August 2020 through August 2021.

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