Like all travel markets, car rental bookings and revenues were deeply impacted by the sharp decline in travel flows – both international arrivals and domestic trips – throughout the pandemic in 2020 and into 2021. However, car rental tied to outlets and rental counters at airports in Germany suffered the worst decline, as these car rental bookings, which are often not pre-booked, depend on a steady flow of passengers arriving on flights.
In addition to the shorter-term decline in total arrivals, which has challenged the demand for car rental for trips, car rental companies are also facing a more existential longer-term threat from the slow expected recovery in business arrivals, or consumers who need cars for a few days at a time for business trips. Germany is traditionally a relatively strong business destination, as the country hosts regular conferences and trade fairs and is home to many multinational companies.
Germany-based Sixt is the largest car rental brand in Germany by sales, and has increased its value share during the pandemic, as the company has leveraged mobility options that had been years in development to remain relevant to consumers and to gain critical sources of revenue despite the broader travel challenges. Part of Sixt’s strategy, which had been in the works since before the pandemic started, has been to digitalise its offerings for mobile access and to integrate new mobility products that complement the company’s traditional car rental offerings.
Despite the broader challenges facing all travel operators during the pandemic, car rental companies have managed to avoid the kinds of losses suffered by other travel modes, such as airlines and trains, due to the pandemic-driven demand for private travel options to non-urban destinations. However, as normal travel patterns resume in the coming years, car rental companies will come under more direct competition from other ground transport options, such as trains and buses, which will also look to capture a greater share of the more localised domestic and regional trips that are likely in the coming years, given the longer-term challenges facing long-haul travel.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Car Rental (Destination) industry in Germany with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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Car rental covers the short-term rental of passenger vehicles for self-drive by both business and leisure users, whether from the airport or downtown locations. Trucks and commercial vans are excluded. Car rental value covers the price of car hire to the consumer. Ancillary revenues are included, such as the hire of baby car seats, GPS navigation systems, optional roadside assistance services and collision and damage waivers. Volume is provided by the number of car hire transactions, fleet size and number of car rental operators. In underdeveloped markets, car rental companies offer chauffeur-driven cars. Most people prefer these options, due to unfamiliarity with the roads. Euromonitor International includes chauffeur-driven cars in car rental, when they concern car rental companies such as Hertz or Avis, which offer a chauffeur-driven service as an additional option. Car rental covers sales to inbound tourists and domestic tourists. i.e. from a destination point of view (also known as point of supply). For example, if a US citizen books a car rental service in France via the US offices of Hertz, the sales are attributed to Hertz France. The same applies for online sales. Car rental excludes long-term leasing, commercial vehicles, trucks and motorbikes and local car sharing schemes.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Car Rental (Destination) research and analysis database.
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