New Zealand’s borders are set to fully open to the whole world for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic this summer, but the country is currently facing a rental vehicle shortage which could become a roadblock for many incoming tourists.
International visitor numbers are expected to exceed 2.75 million people over the 2023/24 holiday season, according to the Rental Vehicle Association of NZ which says we need to get ready for.
“This year, the [rental vehicle] sector will only be able to increase its new car rental fleet by approximately 15,000 vehicles, leaving us still about 7500 to 10,000 short,” says Ben McFadgen, CEO of the Rental Vehicle Association of NZ.
“Adverse weather events and their impact on New Zealand’s tourism regions over the last few months certainly haven’t helped. But we still aren’t at capacity yet either. We are so, so close!”
Rental vehicle companies had apparently taken this into account when they culled much of their fleet for newer, safer and lower-emitting cars last season, but the industry continued to face unanticipated events like ongoing supply chain problems and the newly-imposed Clean Car Scheme regulations which have had a “massive” impact on costs.
“We don’t expect it to improve much either,” says McFadgen. “Right now, New Zealand’s motor vehicle industry is significantly challenged by the Government’s decarbonisation timeline, in particular the Clean Car Scheme.”
“It will affect vehicle supply. It could potentially affect vehicle safety. We believe this puts New Zealand’s economic, and social health at risk.”
McFadgen went on to add that while he supports the Government’s decision to modernise the country’s vehicle fleet in the name of more eco-friendly cars, he says that more collaboration is needed so that it doesn’t break the bank of rental companies.
If you plan on renting a vehicle this summer, booking early and shopping around is recommended. Another tip is to consider renting a car that is a few years older.