Aug 11, 08, 2:24 pm
I rarely rent a car but on the two occasions I have used Dollar, I was informed that the type of cars I had reserved weeks in advance were not available. The first time we upgraded to a convertible for $8 a day. Not bad.
Last time I reserved a Charger or better and they offered a Honda Accord. When I balked, she suddenly produced the keys for the Charger. I will be renting again this time in San Diego, can they downgrade me or not?? Or if forced to upgrade am I obligated to pay the difference.........Help!!!!
Aug 11, 08, 11:49 pm
Welcome to FlyerTalk, Tinkerbelle1952! You are experiencing the latest issue in the rental car biz - lack of availability of small cars. American's are finally changing our habits and renting smaller more fuel efficient vehicles. Unfortunately, 18 or so months ago, the SUV was king of the road. Times have changed, but the rental car companies need time to adust. There is a distinct possibility that SAN may not have anything smaller than the car that they offer you. In the Dollar-Thrifty Automotive World (DTAG) there is no real elite status in their frequent renter programs. The best advice I can give is make sure that your reservation has your Dollar Express Number in it. You can try calling the location at T-24 to request an itty-bitty vehicle, but there are no guarantees.
Good luck and keep posting.
Aug 12, 08, 4:49 pm
For better or for worse, the new Honda Accord is classified as a full-size vehicle by both the rental agencies and the EPA. The new Accord is noticeably larger than the last model Accord, so it's not as small as you might be thinking, but I do agree that the Charger is a substantially larger car.
The problem with DTAG is that they are bound by a contract with Chrysler to feature Chrysler cars through the website. Chrysler no longer makes a true full-size car, and so the only options are the Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger, which is considered a midsize, and the Dodge Charer, which in all honesty should be considered a premium. But because there is no in-between car (sized more like a Malibu, which other agencies consider fullsizes), the Charger defaults to the fullsize class. That leaves customers with the expectation that a fullsize is at least a Charger.
For the car class, DTAG's cars are usually larger than the competition. For example, here is Enterprise's car size chart:
Economy: Chevy Aveo
Compact: Chevy Cobalt
Intermediate: Dodge Caliber (considered a Compact by DTAG)
Standard: Dodge Avenger/Chrysler Sebring/Pontiac G6 (considered an Intermediate by DTAG)
Fullsize: Chevy Malibu
Premium: Dodge Charger, Pontiac Grand Prix, Nissan Altima (considered fullsize by DTAG)
Luxury: Nissan Maxima
So, rather than be mad you didn't get your fullsize Charger, you should be happy that you got a free upgrade to a premium Charger from a fullsize Accord! ;)
(But do write DTAG corporate HQ and tell them their contract with Chrysler sucks and they need to fix it so their car model display is more in touch with what they actually carry and what customers should expect...it would make my life a LOT easier...)