In most companies, things are simple: if you need a rental car, you book one at company rates. If you want to rent a car privately, it’s a bit more difficult. The selection of rental companies is large, as are the differences in prices and service. A little market research is worthwhile in any case, as a study by the German Institute for Service Quality (DISQ) for n-tv has shown. The market researchers examined the conditions and service of six nationwide car rental companies. The price differences were striking, especially in the upper mid-range segment, where there is considerable savings potential. For a rental period of seven days, for example, the most expensive car rental company charged more than twice as much as the cheapest. On average, the difference was around 56 percent. The differences were smaller for mid-range vehicles such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, although even here consumers paid around 38 percent more in the worst case. Those who only need the car for one day generally get the best value with Enterprise. The situation is different for longer rental periods: “Depending on the search specifications, the cheapest provider varies, so you should compare,” says DISQ head Markus Hamer.
Sixt not only has a good advertising agency, but apparently also good service.
Great need to catch up was revealed in the area of service
Here, the car rental companies only scored satisfactory on average. The best contact was via telephone, where prospective customers received the best advice and the employees had the right information at their fingertips. On the other hand, one should not place great hopes on e-mail inquiries. Here only Sixt could convince, other offerers answered questions only briefly or referred to the Hotline. The testers also searched in vain for comprehensive information on the Internet, often missing more detailed information, such as prices for additional services like child seats or navigation devices. Nevertheless, those who book over the Internet do not have to worry about safety standards. All car rental companies secured personal data and payment details with encrypted transmission. In addition, there were no default settings regarding the disclosure of personal data.
The test winner and thus the best car rental company was Sixt. The Munich-based company took first place in terms of both service and conditions. Enterprise, in second place, also offered very reasonably priced vehicles. In terms of service, the car rental company was particularly convincing with competent telephone advice via a free hotline. Europcar came third. The provider scored with a good Internet presence and above-average low prices.