Car hire shortage threatens tourism in Spain - are you affected?

22 July 2009

If you're planning on heading to Spain soon for your holiday, you need to know there's trouble brewing in the Costas. The issue facing many arriving there is car hire or specifically, the lack of it. Having spent a week in Costa Blanca, I think it's fair to say there is a massive shortage of cars available, and those you can hire are likely to cost you double the prices paid last year.

Talking to tourists around Murcia and Mar Menor, hire car companies are charging between £200 and £300 a week during July and August, if not more - even a block booking lasting a month may cost well over £1000. The net result is that plenty of families have paid far more for car hire than they have for their flights. On arriving at San Javier airports, the queues stretch back to the luggage belts at one car hire desk, while the others - those with no availability - have idle staff and no custom.

A search around the web reveals a possible cause - Travel Rants suggests the shortage of cars is because of the recession, with companies unable to purchase enough cars to meet demand, therefore pushing up the asking price of those that are available. But it gets worse - readers have left comments explaining that in some cases, car hire companies are cancelling bookings made months in advance with just days' notice, presumably because more money can be made by fulfilling last minute bookings.

According to Travel Rants, those areas worse affected include Malaga, Alicante, Mallorca, Menorca and Barcelona. You can add Murcia to that list, too. Regardless, if you're due to travel to Spain in the next few weeks and already have a car booked, you may be wise to re-confirm the booking. If you haven't booked but know you'll need one, start looking now or have a plan B in mind. Let us know if you're affected by this, or if you've already lost out at the hands of the Spanish hire companies.

TOPICS:   Travel   Economy


  • John W.
    I booked my holiday on the Costa del Sol in January. When I checked the car hire prices, it was £279 for a 2 week hire. That was already £50 more than last year, so I thought it was due to the high exchange rate, so I left it for a while. I went back on 2 days ago, only to find that the CHEAPEST i could get 2 weeks car hire from Malaga was £600. So in the end, it has cost me £600 for car hire, and £700 for flights. Crazy.
  • Dan
    I used these guys, local to me on the south coast but absolutely brilliant. Give them a call and they can normally sort you right out. Been using them for years :)
  • Terry G.
    I ended up getting my cars from Hertz this year. Undercut everyone ... 118 quid a week for Zafira class. (Valencia airport) I can't even contemplate the consequences if they muck up - but hopefully a bit safer going direct than using a broker.
  • ibiza
    I cannot complain. My spanish hire car reminded me of an opera groupie this year. It was under a tenner a day!
  • William G.
    Having booked a car a few months ago, the confirmation e-mail didn't arrive after 2 weeks. I phoned the company who said not to worry I would be alright. 3 weeks later I received a phone call telling me that they could not secure a car for me!!! After a heated exchange they asked did I want them to continue looking which I "diplomatically" declined. During the exchange I asked why the shortage of cars this year and he replied that due to the recession the majority of hire companies did not renew their fleets this year ie no new cars were purchased for these fleets which explains the shortage and higher prices.
  • Dave S.
    Very interesting. My Mother and Farther booked a car for their hols, months ago. They then decided to cancel the car on them 2 days before they were about to leave, giving them 2 days to try and arrange a hire car at the last minute. Sounds like they are working together, cancelling on people so they have to get a car from someone else at twice the price. FUCKING TOSSERS!
  • Heading B.
    [...] Yesterday we told you about a potential disaster waiting for you in Spain when you arrive on your summer holidays - the country appears to be suffering from a massive shortage of hire cars. As we mentioned, in plenty of resorts the weekly rates have doubled since last year; even picking up a hire car at any cost at the airport is proving difficult in the likes of Murcia, Malaga, Alicante, Mallorca, Menorca and Barcelona. [...]
  • Steve
    I've just got back from two weeks in Marbella, we booked with Sixt ( The car was more expensive than what we paid when we rented with them in Nice last year but the service was good and we got a new car.
  • James
    I used and got a good deal at Malaga. They seem to search the major car companies for the best deal although I did book well in advance.
  • Cristen W.
    Hi There. I hope you dont mind me commenting here. I want to get of a hold of you however I didn't find your contact details. I would like to subscribe to your blog but I cannot locate your RSS subscription link! thanks.
  • Malem A.
    Really Enjoy reading this post.. ;) Thanks!
  • Lo i.
    Is very interesting, thanks for the information! n.n

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