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The Road and Map Geek
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Easy answer: To avoid growing maintenancs cost and to keep the corporate image.

More complex answer: Even the age of 18 months might be exaggerated, the typical age is somewhere in 12-15 months. Of course, your mileage may vary a lot. The big rental companies having hundreds of thousands of cars in their fleet often make buy-back agreements with the car makers. Rental companies are kind of marketing channels of the car makers, and they, of course, want to promote newest models. In the same time, the second-hand wholesale companies will receive decent material at a good prices (because the var rental clients have paid fees well exceeding the depreciation of the fleet).
 

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on the road
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For US companies, which mostly buy outright their vehicles, because:
  • maitenance schedule (at the usual mileage, 18-22 months is often the sweet spot when a combination of time-based and mileage - for heavily used fleet cars like rentals - converge to require some time in the shop, which then makes these cars safer bets to sell with limited warranty on the second-hand market.
  • accounting/taxation, as 18-24 months is when market-value depreciation of cars usually intersects accounting-rules statutory depreciation
  • cyclical manufacturing arrangements, which means rental companies take more vehicles in when demand from costumers are seasonally lower, which gives the fleet companies discounts and manufactures some smoothing on assembly line output (same goes for taxis, other company car fleets, government contracts etc), so this 18-22 months is a cycle that works well to sell used cars recently maintained when their seasonal price is at the highest on the second-hand market, and buying on the cheap from the manufacturers.
So most American rental companies are exposed to the vagrancies risks and opportunities of the second-hand car market price. They made a lot of money in the last decade, because the useful longevity of cars have increased, thus reducing the market price depreciation of cars with some but not much use. Car prices have also increased above inflation in US, helping car rental agencies to reduce the gap of cost of acquisition and resale revenue.

In Europe, in most countries, the business model of large rental companies is different: mostly, they have car leasing agreements with pre-determined repurchase prices the manufacturers have agreed upon. This also explains why so many 'dud' models, models being about to be discontinued, versions that didn't get traction on the market or outright weird-ish models make into rental lots in large numbers: manufactures offer slightly more attractive leasing terms, and companies don't have to worry about resale price. Cars also stay shorter in the rental lots in Europe, and the timing of fleet renewal is more attuned to the manufacturers' release schedule. These leasing agreements include often fleet service for mechanical defects, which are quite predictable at very large fleets.
 

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on the road
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Speaking of car rental, I really dislike the bait-and-switch vibe of the business, although there is really no other option to fly away and get a car at a destination. I always make video walkarounds on the car, take pictures, and prefer to shell out for more comprehensive insurance just to avoid the aggravation. I also have secondary annual insurance for the excess non-deductible component of insurance on rental cars. But I really dislike the overall approach of offering low prices and putting all pitfalls in your way to pay more, way more. I'd not mind higher upfront fares that actually had no loopholes.
 

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Speaking of car rental, I really dislike the bait-and-switch vibe of the business, although there is really no other option to fly away and get a car at a destination. I always make video walkarounds on the car, take pictures, and prefer to shell out for more comprehensive insurance just to avoid the aggravation. I also have secondary annual insurance for the excess non-deductible component of insurance on rental cars. But I really dislike the overall approach of offering low prices and putting all pitfalls in your way to pay more, way more. I'd not mind higher upfront fares that actually had no loopholes.
I agree. Renting a car is often the most stressful part of a trip for me. I'll happily spend more on extra insurance, just that I don't have to constantly worry about spending thousands in deductible in case something happens. Making a reservation for a rental car online usually takes me hours to do as well since you absolutely have to read everything in the small print to understand what you're agreeing to.
 

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on the road
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I agree. Renting a car is often the most stressful part of a trip for me. I'll happily spend more on extra insurance, just that I don't have to constantly worry about spending thousands in deductible in case something happens. Making a reservation for a rental car online usually takes me hours to do as well since you absolutely have to read everything in the small print to understand what you're agreeing to.
Yes, there are several gimmicks to pay attention to. The most insidious recent one is "unlimited mileage" rentals that require you to pre-purchase a full fuel tank from the agency, at outrageous prices (and you never really want to run so low to take full advantage of it and risk running empty).
 

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Hiring a car in the US is a lot less stressful than in Europe as it seems that all possible extras are already included.

There are a few independent firms that have more transparent pricing. For example at Alicante airport,


They seemed to have almost universal praise on a TripAdvisor thread. Their excess waiver is only 3 or 4 euros a day. The biggest "catch" is that you have to buy 20 euros of fuel.
 

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Moderator
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The big rental companies having hundreds of thousands of cars in their fleet often make buy-back agreements with the car makers. Rental companies are kind of marketing channels of the car makers, and they, of course, want to promote newest models. In the same time, the second-hand wholesale companies will receive decent material at a good prices (because the var rental clients have paid fees well exceeding the depreciation of the fleet).
I've heard this is also a thing with big German car manufacturers, employees get to drive the newest model Audi or Mercedes for a year at a reduced price, just to get volume on the street and promote the image. These cars usually cost over € 60,000 so they are out of reach of most ordinary people, yet on the Autobahn it sometimes seems like half of Germany can afford a brand new luxury car.
 

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In general, What I dont like with car rental companies is that you have to prepay as a deposit in most cases. I have heard horrible stories where people didnt get all their money back even if they returned the car as they Got it.

I always look for options where you dont need to do prepayment.
 

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on the road
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I don't know if it works on every keyboard layout, but there are shortcuts to ß (ctrl+alt+s simultaneously). I also memorized a few other ones;
  • ctrl+alt+w = å
  • ctrl+alt+z = æ
  • ctrl+alt+l = ø
  • ctrl+alt+n = ñ
Include shift for capitalization.
On Windows (since Windows 7), you can use the AltGr key (one of the Alt, normally on the right) instead of CTRL+ALT to get the characters.

I always remap my foreign keyborads to US-International. Didn't want to learn the Norwegian layout and now the Swiss layout.
 

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The Road and Map Geek
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2,481 Posts
I agree. Renting a car is often the most stressful part of a trip for me. I'll happily spend more on extra insurance, just that I don't have to constantly worry about spending thousands in deductible in case something happens. Making a reservation for a rental car online usually takes me hours to do as well since you absolutely have to read everything in the small print to understand what you're agreeing to.
That has created some strange business. Last time I rented a car for a holiday, the deductible was pretty high, but it could be waived by buying an insurance from a third party. Thus, Finnair arranged a rental car from the company A selling an insurance @X EUR of deductible. By buying an extra cheap insurance from the company B, the deductible dropped to zero (or to an negligible sum, I do not remember). So, if an accident had happened, B would have paid the amount of deductible to A.
 

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I am also a frequent user of rental cars, mostly for work but also for almost every vacation I take which involves flying. I even had a top tier card at Hertz as I used them on over 50 occasions. I liked them as they were always reliable and had relatively new cars (I even got myself some nice upgrades a couple of times). By having a company card with them I don't need to show a credit card when collecting the car, and the payment is made by the company after the rental is over, but I noticed they have much higher fees when booking as a company compared to as an individual.

I got the same issues as you mention when renting a car for my private use. You always got additional fees, unfair fuel options, hidden costs etc.

However, since a couple of years ago I started using the services of the German Auto Club for reserving the rental car (thanks cinxxx for the hint). They have partnerships with the large world-wide car rental brands and have cars available in entire Europe, US, and some other countries, so you still get the 18-month old car from Hertz, Sixt or Avis, but at a better deal. I used them even in New Zealand and UAE. I like them as the prices are fair (a bit over the standard cheapest fares you find on the regular market), but they have included all reasonable additionals that one would need (full insurance even if it's your fault without deductible, full-to-full refueling option, additional driver, free cancellation up to the pick-up date etc.). So I don't care if I find the car scratched in the parking lot, as it's fully insured, and that gives a lot of piece of mind. The only time I had to pay extra was when I had to pick up the car at an odd our (after midnight, when they were already closed and someone had to wait for me), but except that everything is included. Another big plus is that they don't block on your credit card 1000-2000 € as a deposit, but only about 250 €, which is very reasonable.
 

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No, I live in Austria, so I use their Austrian branch (same company, 2 different countries). However, it does not really matter where you live. I once reserved a car through them for my father, who lives in Romania, and he had no issues with his rental.
 

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That has created some strange business. Last time I rented a car for a holiday, the deductible was pretty high, but it could be waived by buying an insurance from a third party. Thus, Finnair arranged a rental car from the company A selling an insurance @X EUR of deductible. By buying an extra cheap insurance from the company B, the deductible dropped to zero (or to an negligible sum, I do not remember). So, if an accident had happened, B would have paid the amount of deductible to A.
This is acutally quite a common practice from what I've gathered. There are lots of websites that show car rental offers from different companies and allow you to book a car through them. Often it's these same websites that offer the extra insurance for a cheaper price than the actual car renting company. You have to be careful, though. The actual car rental company can still take the deductible straight from your credit card and you have to make a separate claim to the company offering the extra insurance to get your deductible back. This can be time consuming and difficult if you're already back home and until it's resolved you are still out of pocket.
 

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The Road and Map Geek
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2,481 Posts
This is acutally quite a common practice from what I've gathered. There are lots of websites that show car rental offers from different companies and allow you to book a car through them. Often it's these same websites that offer the extra insurance for a cheaper price than the actual car renting company. You have to be careful, though. The actual car rental company can still take the deductible straight from your credit card and you have to make a separate claim to the company offering the extra insurance to get your deductible back. This can be time consuming and difficult if you're already back home and until it's resolved you are still out of pocket.
This is, of course, the procedure. Everyone needs to assess the feasilibility of the business case based on his/her cash flow situation.
 

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This is acutally quite a common practice from what I've gathered. There are lots of websites that show car rental offers from different companies and allow you to book a car through them. Often it's these same websites that offer the extra insurance for a cheaper price than the actual car renting company. You have to be careful, though. The actual car rental company can still take the deductible straight from your credit card and you have to make a separate claim to the company offering the extra insurance to get your deductible back. This can be time consuming and difficult if you're already back home and until it's resolved you are still out of pocket.
I always prefer to pay more for insurance from the car rental company to avoid high deposit an then the need of chasing insurer to get a refund for the rental company charges. It can take months from what I heard.

But I wish prices were quoted with the insurance. It takes ages to check a few companies and check their local insurance fees and extras. It really take a lot more to book decent car rental than flights...

I also avoid some weird local companies and stick to a few majors. There are plenty of horror stories about ridiculous charges from small companies, particularly in Spain.
 

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Switzerland will lift most restrictions in the coming weeks.

  • all closures of businesses and facilities will be lifted on 6 June
  • border checks with Germany, France and Austria will be lifted on 15 June
  • restrictions from the rest of the Schengen Zone will be lifted on 6 July
  • social distancing remains in place but there will be no mandatory face masks.

Coronavirus: Einreisebeschränkungen werden ab dem 8. Juni weiter gelockert

It sounds like I can't travel to Switzerland until 6 July, despite there being no border checks between the Netherlands and Switzerland from 15 June.
 

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Poland also lifts many restrictions.

From 30 May:
– you don't have to wear masks in open air or keep 2 m distance from other people, not counting people with whom you live together or family (only one of those conditions must be fulfilled, you have to wear masks in crowded places) or at work if the employer makes you able to keep appropriate distance,
– no limits of people in shops, offices and restaurants.

From 31 May:
– no limits on the number of people in churches but wearing masks remains obligatory,
– open air gatherings of people up to 150 persons become allowed (as long as you wear a mask or keep a 2 m distance).

From 6 June:
– opening of cinemas, theaters, massage salons, solariums, gyms, fitness clubs with a requirement to wear masks,
– wedding receptions up to 150 persons will be allowed, without a necessity to wear masks.

What limits remain:
– requirement to keep 2 m distance from each other in public places or wear masks,
– limit on the number of people in public transport vehicles (30% of all places or 50% of seats),
– requirement to wear masks in: buses, trams, shops, cinemas, theaters, massage and tattoo salons, churches and offices,
– limits on the number of people in public gatherings (e.g. concerts and similar events) and requirement to keep 2 m distance or wear masks (except wedding receptions),
– closed clubs and discos,
– appropriate distances between tables and obligatory disinfection of them after every customer in restaurants,
– forbidden entry to the country for foreigners,
– 14-day quarantine for Poles returning to the country (except professional drivers in transit, also in private cars travelling to take rest, foreign students learning in Poland, citizens of EU, EEA and Switzerland for transit shorter than 12 hours),
– international flights are forbidden to 6 June, domestic ones to 31 May – those deadlines may get extended (previously they were always quite short-term, extended every few weeks),
– schools are open only partially – students of years 1–3 of primary school may go to school and they have care provided there, there will also be consultations with teachers organized for older students,
– on sports venues there might be maximally 14 players and 2 trainers, one cannot use cloakrooms and showers.
 

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on the road
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WIth major car rentals, you
Switzerland will lift most restrictions in the coming weeks.

  • all closures of businesses and facilities will be lifted on 6 June
  • border checks with Germany, France and Austria will be lifted on 15 June
  • restrictions from the rest of the Schengen Zone will be lifted on 6 July
  • social distancing remains in place but there will be no mandatory face masks.

Coronavirus: Einreisebeschränkungen werden ab dem 8. Juni weiter gelockert

It sounds like I can't travel to Switzerland until 6 July, despite there being no border checks between the Netherlands and Switzerland from 15 June.
Yes, they want to normalize the international cross-border traffic first. I think July 6th is the date for most or all intra-Schengen traffic to resume. Internally, things are reverting to normal pretty fast. The major difference is social distancing within closed spaces, restaurants, stores etc. I was in Lugano last Sunday, some police dropped by the restaurant I was having lunch at, with measurement tapes, and then told the manager to rearrange some tables because they were too close. But those already seated there could finish lunches first. It was not a confrontation, more a consultation. Still, it seems as if Ticino police has quite some manpower to spare these days, they measured everything there, took pictures etc.

Only a few businesses and facilities are still closed, though. Museums, parks etc. are opened. Alpine trails and mountain-leisure infrastructure is still closed.
 

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Naudotojas
Instagram: povilas_landscape
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Where I live, people are way more relaxed, don't even minding to keep 2 m distance anymore. People wear masks only in supermarkets, some of them wear them incorrectly with nose popping out.

Outdoors, there are some elderly, and cyclists still wearing a mask, but you don't see that frequently.

Interestingly, according to one survey, Lithuanians are as relaxed about COVID19 as Scandinavians, but they don't trust the institutions as in many CEE countries, probably due to bad track record of the government that made people distrust them. I think it's expected that government (which is Post-Soviet too) with not too well functioning managing traditions, and (slight) lack of funds will not be as trustful as some well maintained old democracy. If honest, this including me, I'm still anxious how our government will manage the virus with further easing of lockdown. Although now, much of Western World with bad track record with managing the virus (losing trilions instead of early interventions), is not very trustful too. I would be more calm if we were Taiwan, maybe South Korea or Singapore in terms of overall development and reputation. Not a Post-Soviet republic, although a Baltic one. On the other hand, instead of domestic politicans, Lithuanians trust multiple international authorities information on COVID19. I'm tend to trust independent sources which make sense for me instead. They pretty much copy the mainstream news/sources, they are not some conspiracy channels, or pushing "it's not impossible, so it may be possible" kinda stuff too often.

Many Lithuanians are wanting to cancel the quarantine regime which is already quite symbolic in my eyes, but there are no (significant) open protests towards it. Actually, we are quite sluggish protesters, we protest against live-death stuff (Soviets will shoot you/Soviets will give you job), instead of slighty more comfort-slightly less comfort. Maybe our harsh history doesn't make us protest for comfort stuff instead of survival stuff.
 
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