It was the Rental Automotive Apocalypse.

For Thursday and far of Friday, no rental automobiles have been accessible at any native company for love or cash.

Nicely, when you had sufficient cash you may lease a automobile from St. Louis Exotics, a department of Enterprise Lease-A-Automotive. The Ladue location provided what it calls Tremendous Sports activities Vehicles — a Maserati Ghibli or a Mercedes E-Class Coupe, for example — for $279.99 per day.

Vary Rover and comparable SUVs price somewhat extra.

However in any other case, even love couldn’t get you a automobile — although some turned accessible late Friday afternoon.

U-Haul was out of pickup vehicles. However when you completely, positively wanted a mode of transportation and also you didn’t significantly care what it appeared like, you may lease one among their transferring vans. Not solely might you will have a automobile, it got here with a minimum of 402 cubic toes of hauling area.

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Demand for rental automobiles has been sturdy all summer season and into September, stated Michael Wilmering, public relations supervisor for Enterprise, which additionally owns Nationwide Automotive Rental and Alamo Lease A Automotive.

The St. Louis rental automobile areas have been hit significantly exhausting this week by the Love Life Girls’s Convention of the Joyce Meyer Ministries, which is being held Thursday by way of Saturday at The Dome at America’s Middle.

Jeremiah Matthews, a gross sales agent on the St. Louis Lambert Worldwide Airport location of Greenback Lease A Automotive, stated that workplace rented numerous automobiles to individuals attending the convention. The ministry is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this yr.

Rental-car sellouts usually are not unusual, stated Breana Conner-Haynes, one other gross sales agent on the airport location of Greenback Lease A Automotive. They could occur as typically as twice a month. Sometimes, weekdays are busier than weekends, she stated.

When flash floods destroyed so many non-public automobiles in August, rental automobile companies offered out shortly and for a while, she stated.

The business was hit exhausting by the coronavirus in 2020, when journey largely got here to a halt. Rental automobile corporations severely in the reduction of on their new fleet purchases that yr, and so they have been caught with out sufficient automobiles when journey picked up once more in 2021 and into this yr.

Based on an article in Barron’s, “corporations’ fleet sizes depleted attributable to issues securing new autos after an early pandemic selloff.”

Wilmering stated that Enterprise has seen “vital enchancment” in rebuilding its fleet, in comparison with final yr. Now, the issue is the worldwide scarcity of microchips crucial for right now’s automobiles and different provide chain points that’s limiting the provision of recent automobiles, he stated within the assertion.

As a way to guarantee {that a} automobile is there whenever you want it, he stated, make a reservation as early as potential.

However typically, even a reservation gained’t assist.

Brandon Galloway flew from Houston to St. Louis Friday to attend a marriage in Mount Vernon, Illinois. He had a reservation with Nationwide Automotive Rental for 3 months. However his flight was delayed.

He acquired involved with the rental automobile firm, which instructed him it will maintain his reservation for twenty-four hours. Something longer than that, and the reservation would finish.

Just a few hours later, he was about to board his aircraft at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

“I checked out my app to see what my reservation quantity was. The reservation was now not there,” he stated. Not solely that, the corporate had no file of his ever having one, although he might show that he did.

He tried all the opposite rental-car corporations on the town and found that they have been offered out.

Lastly, he stated, “I went by way of Priceline and booked one by way of Avis.”

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