The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) has claimed that some daily rental car companies are prioritising retail rentals to the detriment of fleet customers.

Businesses have been sharing their experiences of being unable to secure corporate fleet rentals from outlets. The AFP has heard that those same outlets have then offered cars to individuals from the business at retail rates.

Consumer rentals bring higher margins than fleet rentals for car rental companies.

“We’re not saying all rental companies have adopted this as a policy and we are not saying that, even within the same companies, it is happening uniformly across the country – but it does certainly seem to be happening, according to feedback from our members,” said James Pestell, AFP director.

“To some extent, suppliers doing this is understandable. Most of them are operating reduced fleets in a time of high demand, so it makes commercial sense for them to be employing their assets in markets where bigger margins are available.

“On the other hand, fleets are regular and reliable customers for daily rental and often have longstanding relationships with their preferred rental suppliers. Their needs should arguably be given due consideration,” said Pestell.

Shortages of rental vehicles are a growing concern within the fleet industry. Prices are going up, and fleets need to cover vehicles being off the road at short notice. Fleets are keeping hold of some vehicles to fill gaps, but it is not a long term solution to what is a growing problem.