South Africa Car Rental Fleet Survey 2021

The South Africa car rental fleet survey for 2021 reveals that the total rental industry fleet size is roughly half the size of pre-pandemic levels this holiday season.

With COVID-19 travel restrictions easing, the number of travellers seeking car rental for their holidays and business trips has increased dramatically over the last few months.

But with the increase in rental demand, has the supply of vehicles kept pace?

In order to answer this question Drive South Africa conducted a survey with its vehicle rental partners to determine how the rental industry has managed its fleet since the onset of the pandemic.

For the survey, we approached 13 major rental brands in the car, 4×4, and motorhome rental sectors.

We asked them to provide their fleet sizes in December 2019, December 2020, December 2021 and their current projections for December 2022.

We approached these 13 companies:

4×4 rental: Avis Safari, Britz and Bushlore
Motorhome rental: Bobo Campers, Maui Motorhomes and SA Roadtrippers
Car rental: Avis, BLUU (previously Bidvest), Europcar, First, Hertz, Tempest, Thrifty

About the results:

The charts below show the fleet size by rental sector and for all sectors combined.

Figures for 2019, 2020, 2021 and projected figures for 2022 from the survey respondents are included in the graphs.

The graphs indicate the relative change in fleet size. The graphs do not reflect the total industry fleet size, as some rental companies were not included in the survey, and some did not respond. One company had stopped operating.

Chart 1: Car rental sector fleet size changes from Dec 2019 to Dec 2022 (projected)

Chart 2: 4×4 rental sector fleet size changes from Dec 2019 to Dec 2022 (projected)

Chart 3: Motorhome rental sector fleet size changes from Dec 2019 to Dec 2022 (projected)

Chart 4: Total vehicle rental sector fleet size changes from Dec 2019 to Dec 2022 (projected)

Car rental feet survey findings

1. Car rental sector fleet size is down by 45.8% from Dec 2019 (~59,000 vehicles) to Dec 2021 (~32,000 vehicles)

2. 4×4 rental sector fleet size is down by 70% from Dec 2019 (~1,290 vehicles) to Dec 2021 (~387 vehicles)

3. Motorhome rental sector fleet size is down by 65.5% from Dec 2019 (~507 vehicles) to Dec 2021 (~175 vehicles)

4. The total vehicle rental industry fleet size has shrunk by almost half (46.4%) from pre-pandemic figures.

Slow path to recovery

There will be a slow path to full fleet recovery based on current rental industry projections. The total industry fleet size is currently projected to be 75% of pre-pandemic fleet size in Dec 2022.

As a car rental comparison and booking engine, Drive South Africa will continue to work closely with our rental partners to ensure we can deliver the best availability and cheapest prices for car rental, 4×4 rental and motorhome rental.

We urge all travellers to plan and book their rental cars as early as possible to avoid disappointment, while the rental companies gradually up-size their fleets to pre-pandemic levels.

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