Car rental companies have raised their prices for the upcoming eight-day holiday in anticipation of accelerating rentals now that the nation's expressway will be toll-free.
Taking advantage of growing demand for rental cars, the car companies are also setting a required number of days a car can be rented and imposing rules on its return. They are also requiring nonrefundable advance payments.
According to China Auto Rental (CAR), a Beijing-based car rental company, cars must be rented for a minimum of four days during the eight-day holiday. It will provide no refund if an advanced booking is canceled.
"The minimum rental period is unfair and will threaten the healthy growth of the country's car rental business," Zeng Zhiling, an auto industry analyst with the Shanghai-based LMC Automotive Asia Pacific Forecasting, told the Global Times, adding that rules are still being worked out for this new business in China.
The marketing department of CAR could not be reached by the Global Times Monday, however, a customer service staffer said Monday they barely have enough cars for rent during the holiday.
The company is renting a Toyota Camry for 637 yuan ($100) a day, not including insurance, during the holiday, up from the 369-yuan a day during non-holiday periods. The rental for the same make of car at Hertz China jumped from 510 yuan to 590 yuan a day including insurance.
"The demand for cars during the holiday has rocketed and all our cars are rented out," Liu Yi, partnership manager at the marketing department of the Shanghai-based Hertz China, told the Global Times.
Liu said the price increases are in accordance with industry practices and clients in Western countries pay much higher prices during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
"Renting a car is convenient in the UK as there are many companies providing such service," Norman Prichard, a British linguistic professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times.
The State Council announced in August that expressways will exempt passenger cars from paying toll fees across the country during the holiday that combines Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day starting September 30.
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