Auckland 24 January 2013 – At the end of a year that saw road deaths increase by 7 percent, a new nationwide survey highlights concerns that international drivers are unprepared for New Zealand driving conditions.
The Canstar Blue Survey – of car hire customers – showed that more than three quarters (76%) of those surveyed held this view, rising to 81% for Waikato respondents, 80% for Wellingtonians, 81% for Cantabrians and 78% for those from Otago. Aucklanders - at 69% - were less concerned than those from other regions.
There has been a number of high profile road crashes in the past year involving international visitors, says Derek Bonnar, Canstar New Zealand General Manager.
"New Zealand road conditions are varied. The New Zealand Transport Agency notes in its visitor and immigration information that ‘New Zealand roads may be narrower than you're used to, cover hilly terrain and vary from motorways (freeways) to unsealed gravel roads'."
Other NZTA advice for tourists and travellers includes allowing plenty of time for car journeys and taking regular breaks.
Hire better than you can buy It seems that car hire offers a chance for escapism, with nearly 20% of customers choosing to hire a car they can't afford to buy, says Bonnar.
"While women weren't as interested in hiring their dream car, men and Gen Xs were keener, with 29% of Gen Xs and 21% of male respondents more likely to hire a car they didn't have a hope of owning. Baby boomers were least impressed by shining chrome, leather and torque, with only 9% succumbing to temptation and hiring a car flasher than their purchasing budget."
Value based rental company Ace Car Rentals took out the award for overall satisfaction, ahead of international heavyweights Thrifty, Avis, Budget and Hertz.
The survey asked respondents who had hired a car in New Zealand in the past 12 months to rate their provider across seven categories:
1. Value for money 2. Service 3. Availability of vehicle booked 4. Booking process 5. Transparency of costs and fees 6. Availability of accessories 7. Overall satisfaction
Bonnar says that Ace was top of the field for value for money, availability, booking process and transparency.
"Ace has been rewarded by its customers for doing a great job. Ace clearly understands what is most important to its customers, who are prepared to sacrifice higher end service and accessories in exchange for value for money. "
Don't get hit where it hurts – the wallet The sting of unexpected charges was a grizzle for 15% of respondents, with Aucklanders more likely than those from other regions to pay additional charges when returning their car.
"The best way to avoid an expensive surprise is to make sure you are familiar with the contract and check the vehicle's condition before driving away and again on return," says Bonnar.
"Kiwis are pretty savvy in that respect, but there is still room for improvement. More than three quarters said they checked the state of the vehicle and 59% said they read the terms and conditions in full before driving away."
About the survey Canstar Blue commissions Your Source to regularly survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers to measure their satisfaction across a range of products and services.
The outcomes reported here are from the 392 people within the survey group who hired a car within New Zealand in the last 12 months.
Age Groups: Gen Y: 18-29 Gen X: 30-44 Baby Boomers: 45+
*To view the full results of the Canstar Blue survey go to: www.canstarblue.co.nz