Why Cody Can’t Rent a Car
Written by Wyatt Burichka on May 25, 2021
Car rental companies in Cody are seeing a minuscule supply of vehicles as the already high demand for rentals shifts into high gear for Summer 2021.
The car rental industry has always seen a high demand for rental vehicles during the summer tourist season. But as Wyoming transitions to a “post-pandemic” world, COVID-19’s impacts on business and tourism remain.
Usually, by May, the Hertz Car Company in Cody is ready for the new season where travelers are ready to explore Cody and the Bighorn Basin before traveling to their next destination. Cory Fields, the manager at Hertz Rent-A-Car at Yellowstone Regional Airport, says travelers are already booked for a difficult time in Summer 2021.
“June is a very difficult month, I think that was when everybody’s finally out of school kids, what not everybody wants to travel and we have had them phenomenal, massive increase in June request and assist created,” Fields says. “You got a perfect storm, you got a huge demand that exceeds what’s normal for this area, and a shortage of cars.”
Some car rental places sold rental cars on their lot and now have to meet new demand for rental vehicles.
When going online to rent vehicles on multiple rental websites – from Cody and Billings, Montana – I did for one week during the week of June 16 – 25. The car I was going to “rent out” was a compact car like a Toyota corolla and here are the results.
A week’s rental is over $700, depending on the rental company. And easily exceeds $1,000 if you decided to rent the vehicle for over a week.
On average, car rentals are costing just around $100 a day depending on what type of vehicle your getting and how long you expect to have it.
This issue does not seem to be the vehicles – it’s a microchip shortage.
Microchips control the car from the engine to the cabin temperature. They are a key part of the building of cars, trucks, and SUVs.
“Anytime that there is an issue with the car, it sends messages to your computer, in the car. And that’s what alerts you to problems and different things,” said Fields.
The chips put into the vehicles come from Taiwan which is affected by the global COVID-19 virus. This is causing a huge pause in the production of microchips, thus delaying the production of vehicles.
Fields says this already causing issues. Vehicles ordered for the summer have been delayed or canceled – but the demand remains.
“I had one brand call to cancel. They were canceling 30 of our SUVs that were coming straight here to Cody. So it makes us 30 cars short. Now, can we make that up?”
Fields says there are possible local solutions to the shortage. But it’s going to be a long summer for Hertz.
“It’s just gonna be more of a day-by-day kick the can down the road thing until we finally get all the cars in was supposed to end by the end of June, we’ll probably flip and have more cars available for people.”
You might want to plan that reservation a lot sooner before you can not get access to it. The shortage is expected to last further into 2021.