Good luck finding a rent car in Houston after Tropical Storm Harvey. The storm flooded tens of thousands of cars, creating a huge demand for rental cars – many of which were also flooded.
Car rental companies are moving fleets of inventory to Houston to ease the shortage. “We’re still assessing the damage to our own vehicles,” says Lisa Martini, spokesperson for Enterprise Holdings Inc., parent company of the Enterprise, National, and Alamo car rental companies.
“This will take some time because, as you can imagine, not only the vehicles that were on our lots, but we had several vehicles out on rent,” she continues. “So it’s going to take some time to understand the damage to our vehicles as well.”
Martini says it’s a massive undertaking. “We’ve moved in about 4,000 vehicles – it’s probably more than that now, I haven’t gotten an update today yet – but about 4,000 vehicles into Southeast Texas,” she says. “We’re planning to move in at least 17,000 more in the coming weeks.” The cars are being brought in mainly by 18-wheeler car carriers and by rail, she says.
The effort is on a nationwide scale. “We’ve brought vehicles in from as far away as Denver,” Martini says, “and I’ve just gotten an update that says we’ve even got vehicles coming in from California.” With Hurricane Irma now a Category 5 storm looking for trouble, Martini says they’re gearing up to ship cars to Florida, as needed.