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2016 Car Rental Trends Study

2016 Car Rental Trends: Bookings in Europe Outpacing 2015

European countries continue to be a popular destination for US travelers. Based on the October results of the air-travel reports issued by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office, the volume of travel to Europe by U.S. Citizens is up 6.2% this year compared to last. Many factors  likely contributed to this growth however the ITB World Travel Trends Report sites the strong dollar increasing the spending power of U.S. consumers for international travel along with, “good levels of consumer confidence, supported by GDP growth and falling unemployment.”


2015 Results

Most Popular Pickup Country by State

After analyzing the most common rental car pickup countries in Europe from January  1 through December 1; a number of interesting travel trends have emerged.  Italy proves to be the most popular European pickup location by US residents, accounting for 24.5% of all 2015 bookings. The second & third most popular pickup countries by volume are France & Germany, accounting for 13% and 9% of all 2015 bookings respectively. The map below illustrates the most popular pickup country by state.

Most Popular Pickup Country by U.S. State

Most Popular Pickup Country by U.S. State


Top 10 Pickup Cities in 2015

Most popular car rental pickup cities by U.S. Residents

Most Popular Car Rental Pickup Cities by U.S. Residents

Similar to the results shared in our Summer Study, Paris, Rome, Florence, Dublin and London continue to maintain their positions in the top 5 most popular pickup destinations. The precise ranking order of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th most popular pickup locations have shuffled slightly since summer, with the Italian cities gaining in popularity over Dublin.  The race to fill out the remaining ranks of the top 10 was extremely close with the spread in popularity between Frankfurt, Munich, Nice & Lisbon under .5%.

Most Popular Rental Vehicle Class of 2015

Typically, we find U.S. travelers prefer to rent larger, automatic vehicles while abroad. 2015 has been no different with Compact & Mid-Size rentals making up over 56% of rental bookings.

Most Popular Rental Car Class by U.S. Residents 2015

Most Popular Rental Car Class by U.S. Residents 2015

As highlighted in the Summer Study of Rental Car Trends, the most notable international car rental trend in 2015 versus the same period during 2014 continues to be the significant drop in rental rates.

Rental Rates Review by Country

2015 Car Rental Rates by Country Year Over Year

Car Rental Rates by Country Year Over Year

Comparing the fluctuations in the prices of a 7 day rental of a Compact Car in the 5 most popular pickup countries for Jan 1 – Dec 1, 2015, it is clear that rental rates this year were dramatically lower than they were in 2014. Rental rates in Italy decreased considerably in 2015 with a 32% drop in price.


Booking Car Rental Trends for 2016 – An Early-Bird View

Most Popular Pickup Cities

As with many others in the travel industry, we are interested to see how 2016 will stack up against a strong 2015. The data below shows the 5 most popular pickup destinations in Europe for 2016 based on reservations made by U.S. residents prior to Dec 1, 2015. In terms of year over year growth, European car rentals are up 15%.  The shift in popularity of pickup destinations may be attributed to the events in Paris in mid November as well as the convocation of a Jubilee Holy Year in Rome. Milan and Munich continue to be popular pickup destinations in 2016 and are ranked 7th and 6th most popular pickup destinations overall.

Most Popular Car Rental Pickup Destinations 2016 and 2015

Most Popular Car Rental Pickup Destinations 2016 and 2015

Average Duration of Rental 2016

Average Duration of Car Rental

Average Duration of Car Rental

In terms of trip duration, travelers scheduled to pick up their vehicles in Paris & Rome in 2016 have significantly extended their trip compared to 2015, adding over 4 & 3 days to each trip respectively. The increase in duration could be attributed to the fact that many that are traveling for longer periods of time tend to secure transportation further in advance to take advantage of lower rates.

Most Popular Rental Vehicle Class of 2016

As with the results from 2015, Compact, Mid-Size and Economy class vehicles are the most popular vehicles reserved for 2016.

Most Popular Rental Car Class by U.S. Residents 2016

Most Popular Rental Car Class by U.S. Residents 2016

As evidenced by the number of bookings currently reserved for 2016, more U.S. travelers will hit the road while abroad than ever before. Although this early-bird snapshot of car rentals abroad looks strong, we will continue to monitor trends in light of recent events In Europe.

*All statistics are based on Auto Europe internal data.*


About Auto Europe

With over 60 years in the rental car industry, Auto Europe has been helping travelers find the lowest car rental rates around the world. Our deep understanding of the complexities of renting cars abroad paired with our 24/7 availability of rental experts allows us to provide the best service in the industry before, during and after a rental. Let us find you the best rate on a car rental for your next trip abroad. For more information on car rental trends and today’s low rates visit www.autoeurope.com.

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