When we began planning this trip, one of the arrangements we needed to make was an extended car rental.
We had very specific ideas about the kind of car we wanted.
Dan wanted head room. As a long-term minivan driver, I wanted to be able to sit up high off the ground. We both wanted diesel and manual transmission, and we wanted to make sure the window configuration allowed for very good visibility.
We had heard of the Renault Eurodrive program, but we really didn't understand how it worked.
It is basically a tax dodge for Renault. By "selling" you a car with your rental fee acting as your down payment and then "buying" it back from you at the end of your rental, they slide through a loophole in French law and avoid paying a bunch of taxes.
So, the questions are...How does it work? Is it easy? Is it safe? What is the advantage to the renter? What are the disadvantages? How does it compare in cost to traditional car rental?
1- You can pick everything about your car but the exterior color. That means you can be absolutely sure you will have a deisel if you want it. You can have manual or automatic if that is what you want. And you can have any model Renault makes.
2- There are NO hidden charges. Everything is clearly spelled out, including the pickup and drop off charges for locations outside France.
3- This is a walk-away rental, they really don't care if you bring the car back clean. They don't even walk around the car to see if you have any damage. 100% insurance coverage is part of the deal.
4- Pickup and drop off are so fast and easy it almost feels weird.
5- You get to keep the keyring.
1- The paperwork in advance of pickup and drop off is excessive. You are, after all, actually buying this car. Even if it is only on paper.
2- You are limited in your pickup and drop off locations. Usually only one or two big cities in each country, and only one location in each of those cities. You have to make an appointment in advance for both you pickup and dropoff.
3- For the extra trouble, it really isn't any cheaper than a traditional rental.
If we had it to do over again, would we? Yes, but probably only in France. The pickup and dropoff fees are high. That is what brought the cost up to par with AutoEurope.
Also, we would be very, very careful with all the paperwork so that we didn't have to repeat any of it.
We used a US based broker because we don't speak French. http://www.ideamerge.com
Our contact at this company, Jerry Svaboda was extraordinarily patient and helpful as he held my hand through the paperwork process. I know he was thinking that I was a dimwit, but he was too kind to say so.
So there you are, Colleen! I've reported on the Renault program -- just for you!