Clayton, Missouri-based car rental giant Enterprise was ranked the best overall rental agency in J.D.Power’s 2021 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study.
For this study, J.D. Power gathered data from 4,279 business and leisure travellers who rented a vehicle at an airport location from August 2020 through to August 2021. It then used this data to assign rental car agencies a score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score reflecting a greater degree of overall customer satisfaction.
Enterprise topped the study with a score of 861 out of 1,000, followed by National with a score of 852 and Alamo with a score of 837. The industry average score was 830, with Avis, Hertz, Budget, Dollar and Thrifty all falling below this threshold.
This study comes amid a tumultuous time in the rental car industry. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent drop in travel and tourism-related business drove many car rental agencies to sell off portions of their fleets, creating vehicle shortages when the travel industry rebounded earlier this year. This, in turn, drove up prices of rental vehicles to never-before-seen heights – a trend that has yet to fully subside.
Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power, said higher prices and staffing shortages are having a negative impact on consumer satisfaction with rental car agencies.
“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,” Taylor said. “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.”