J.D. Power: High prices suppress car rental satisfaction

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Car rental fees are up 14% this year, said J.D. Power.
Car rental fees are up 14% this year, said J.D. Power. Photo Credit: IJzendoorn/Shutterstock

Customers renting vehicles at the airport aren't any happier this year than last, and high prices are likely the reason, according to the J.D. Power 2022 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study.

Although rental car companies have largely solved the vehicle shortage that caused a significant decline in customer satisfaction in 2021, customer satisfaction levels have not improved in 2022.  A rapid rise in rental fees, which are up 14% this year, is suppressing customer satisfaction, J.D. Power said.

"When it comes to rental cars, price is the biggest factor affecting satisfaction, and the combined effects of inflation and high fuel prices are really pushing customers to their limits -- and that could affect brand image," said Michael Taylor, managing director of travel, hospitality and retail at J.D. Power. "If rental car companies want to offset the influence of these cost increases on customer satisfaction and their brand loyalty, they are going to have to work hard to deliver outsized value by ramping up service."

For a second straight year, Enterprise ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction with a score of 865 on a 1,000-point scale. National (859) ranked second and Alamo (837) third. All three brands are owned by Enterprise Holdings.

Hertz (836) was fourth, followed by Avis (816), Dollar (799), Budget (788) and Thrifty (780).

Overall customer satisfaction for the industry was 829, down from 830 in 2021 and 841 in 2020.

The 2022 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study was based on responses gathered from 8,445 business and leisure travelers who rented a vehicle at an airport location from August 2021 through August 2022. The study was fielded from September 2021 through August 2022.

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