Why can't I rent a convertible?
August 24, 2009 4:58 AM   Subscribe

Why can't I find a decently-priced convertible rental out of SFO the in September?

I've searched all the sights, and the lowest is Dollar/Thrifty, which has a Sebring/similar for $140/day. This is absurdly high when compared with the price/rental ratio of other rental cars. No one else even has them available.

I read this thead, but no help there, and we're talking about California! If I can't rent a convertible there, then where can I rent one?
posted by pollex to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (8 answers total)
If you wouldn't mind renting a solid used car, you might try Rent A Wreck locations in and near San Francisco. The convertible thing might be the tough part, but I've had pretty good experiences getting some specific vehicle requests through Rent A Wreck franchises in the past, like a crew cab truck, and, once, even a Corvette, when such vehicles haven't been on offer at all through the big chains. It helps that you've got a little time to organize this; Rent A Wreck locations are mostly franchise operations, and with a little time, if the branch you contact doesn't have the car you want, they might be able to borrow it for you from a nearby location.
posted by paulsc at 5:28 AM on August 24, 2009

Even if you want a major national brand of car (not a wreck), try a location outside the airport. You can take a taxi or pubtrans the short distance to pick up your car. Savings can be dramatic.

As for convertibles, they always cost more because folks like you want them. Not sure how a price can be "absurd" if they have customers who will pay. Suck it up and pay the premium.
posted by JimN2TAW at 5:53 AM on August 24, 2009

Try Hotwire.com? I picked a weekend in September to check and was quoted $63 a day. Last November I used them and got a good price on a Mustang convertible at SFO. Rental cars in San Francisco tend to be expensive, though.
posted by another zebra at 5:57 AM on August 24, 2009

Try to see if you can get one at a non-airport location (i.e., pick up in San Francisco, rather than at SFO). Also, September and October are the months most likely to be fog-free and gorgeous along the coast here, so convertibles may be priced accordingly. Also, convertibles are treated as "specialty" cars at rental places and cost more, so yes, if you want one, suck it up.

We rented a convertible a few years ago for a fall drive-up-the-coast-weekend and it was like being a car commercial (but with awesomeness!). Fantastic. So yeah, unless you're just going to be tooling around in the city itself - in which case, don't rent a car - the premium is totally worth it.
posted by rtha at 6:01 AM on August 24, 2009

Definitely check prices for downtown SF. There are lots of car rental places within walking distance of BART stations. The downside is that the selection is more limited because the garages are smaller than the behemoth at SFO.
posted by mmascolino at 8:11 AM on August 24, 2009

$140 a day for a convertible picked up at an airport is "decently-priced".
posted by Zambrano at 8:33 AM on August 24, 2009

Zambrano and Jim, you may be right, but I rented a convertible out of the Vegas airport last year for less than $40/a day, and most if not all of the rental agencies had them available. I was surprised to find out only one agency has them at SFO and for more than 3x that price.
posted by pollex at 10:09 AM on August 24, 2009

Well, SF isn't exactly a city with great weather for a convertible, so that might be why fewer places have them, but give Specialty Car Rentals a call and see what they have (their website is down right now for some reason so I can't get a quote). They have always been really nice when I've rented from them and usually have pretty reasonable prices. It's about a 10 minute walk from the civic center bart station.
posted by christy at 6:00 PM on August 24, 2009

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