Car rentals during Tet shoot up, but demand insatiable

By Tan Phan   January 6, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
Car rentals during Tet shoot up, but demand insatiable
Cars and motorbikes move during rush hours in Hanoi. Photo by Shutterstock/MinhHue
Rental cars are more expensive and require a longer minimum hire during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays, but many rental agencies said they are already fully booked.

As usual rents are up sharply during the main national holidays, from Feb. 8 to 14 this year, due to soaring demand.

High-clearance multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) and minivans are the most popular as they can carry a lot of passengers and luggage

A Toyota Innova costs VND1.8-2 million (US$73.9-82.1) per day as against the normal VND0.8-1 million.

Other MPVs like the Mitsubishi Xpander cost VND1.6-1.9 million and the Toyota Fortuner, VND1.7-2 million.

Sedans are easier to find and at less exorbitant prices though they too have surged.

It costs VND0.9-1 million per day for A-segment or minicompact cars like the Toyota Wigo and VinFast Fadil, VND1-1.1 million for the Hyundai i10 costs and VND1.4-1.5 million for the Mitsubishi Attrage costs.

In the B- and C-segment, the Toyota Vios costs VND1.5-1.7 million, the Mazda2 costs VND1.2-1.3 million, Mazda3 costs VND1.4-1.7 million, and the Kia Cerato costs VND1.2-1.5 million.

Many businesses also require a minimum rental period of five to seven days.

But despite all this, supply is far below demand.

Pham Quang of HCMC said: "I am looking for an MPV or seven-seater car to take my family to Phan Thiet City this Tet as the highway is less crowded and easier to navigate this year. But I have not found the right car as many agencies have run out of vehicles while some require a minimum period of five days and I only need the car for three."

There are platforms that connect people looking to rent vehicles with owners.

But even there, most owners demand a minimum rental period of five to 10 days and prices are not much lower than at car rental agencies.

When renting at the latter, people need to leave a collateral or a hefty deposit.

"Customers can drive their motorbike to our facilities when they rent a car, leave the vehicle with its documents and get them back when they return the car," the owner of a car rental agency in Hanoi said.

"If they do not have assets, they can pay a deposit of VND30 million or more, depending on the value of the car."

This year Xanh SM, carmaker VinFast’s taxi brand, is offering electric cars on rent starting at VND720,000 per day for the VF 5 Plus and VND2,550,000 for the VF 9 Plus, though both are likely to be more expensive during Tet.

A deposit of VND20 million is required and a maximum of 200 kilometers per day is permitted, beyond which renters have to pay VND2,500-7,000 for each additional kilometer.

When renting a gasoline car, renters also have to pay for the fuel, a cost they can be when renting an electric car.

Nonetheless, driving an electric car requires careful planning since charging could take more than 10 hours and stations are few and far between.

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