Palma.—The Balearic car hire sector has given one of the strongest indications yet that the region is heading into a busy summer holiday season.
For the past few years, they have been reducing the size of their fleets while increasing their rental rates because of the drop in demand caused by the recession.

But this year, it appears that the car rental market is braced for a busy year with car sales in the Balearics rising by 70 percent last month and most of that business coming from the vehicle rental sector. Ironically, during the first three months of the year, Balearics car sales were nearly nine percent down on the first quarter of last year, but in April, there was a marked upturn in the market based on the increase in holiday sales and a surge of early bookings by clients keen to secure a car when they arrive in the region on holiday.

Bulletin readers will be well aware of the debate over car rental rates which has been raging over the past two years as companies cut their fleets and hiked their prices to such an extent that, in some cases, visitors opted for other destinations in order to avoid the extortionate car rental prices.

However, with 5'000 new vehicles bought in the Balearics last month alone, the majority by the car hire companies, consumer groups expect a readjustment in car rental rates.

The Director General of Anfac, the association of car manufacturers in Spain, Luis Valero, welcomed the figures and said that, if the rent a car market continues purchasing new vehicles and expanding their fleets to meet growing demand, the year-on-year fall in car sales may be as low as around 10 percent come the end of the year.

What is also interesting to note is that the Balearic boom is far greater than in its main competing Spanish destinations such as Valencia and the Canary Islands where car sales rose by only 4.7 percent and remained static respectively.