The warning comes from ARAC – Driverless Car Rental Industry Association, which represents most of the rent-a-car companies operating in Portugal.

In a statement, ARAC says that, “this year, the peak fleet of rent-a-car companies in Portugal should not exceed 92,000 vehicles compared to the approximately 125,000 units registered in Portugal in 2019”, which will mean that this year the supply of vehicles will be less than the demand.

The association stated that there has been “a significant drop in the number of vehicles acquired by rent-a-car and rent-a-cargo companies compared to the previous year and especially compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic crisis year)”, which is due to the fact that the production chains of car manufacturers remain far from pre-pandemic levels.

Lack of cars available

“Factories continue to have a lack of semiconductors for incorporation into vehicles, and there are currently thousands of produced cars parked waiting for the supply of semiconductors so that they can be delivered”, explains ARAC, who say that car manufacturers are also giving “priority to the most profitable sales channels”, which means that “the channel most affected by this situation” is vehicle rental (rent-a-car, rent-a-cargo and renting).

Therefore, the association appeals to manufacturers not to forget the “determining contribution of car rental companies for several years to the sector”.

Areas most affected

The association also highlighted that Madeira and the Azores are expected to be the areas “most affected by the lack of vehicles”, followed by the Algarve, Porto and Lisbon.

Despite the problem of the lack of vehicles, ARAC says that companies are optimistic and adds that, “now, that demand seems to be resuming its usual trajectory, Portuguese rent-a-car companies can show confidence in the resumption of activity”.