The eight car rental companies encamped at
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport remain commendably stocked on Monday, day one of the Republican National Convention. But perhaps unsurprisingly, vehicles in the "Premium Luxury" or "Prestige" class have been highly sought after, and in some cases, are completely sold out.
The best that Budget Rental could offer was a Ford Taurus. The call center rep advised, however, that it was a premium Taurus. A four-day rental was quoted at $743.85. Premium indeed! (The rep kindly informed a caller that by dropping down a tier — something like a Ford Fusion or a Chevy Impala — one would only expect to spend $321 for four days. All the BMW Signature Series vehicles were sold out. Likewise the Chevy Camaros and the Ford Mustang convertibles.
All the "Prestige" vehicles were sold out at the Hertz station as well. Regular old luxury cars — Chrysler 300s, Cadillac CTSs — were available, and were quoted at $878.34 for four days (with no discounts). Same story at National. The apologetic rep said no premium luxury cars were available, but a Lincoln MKZ was quoted at $882.87 for four days.
Avis Rental offered what was, by comparison, the best deal of the bunch. A Ford Mustang Convertible was still available at Hopkins for a quoted four-day cost of $537.21. All quotes included unlimited miles and taxes and fees.
The call center rep at Alamo advised that reservations ought to be made soon — only six total vehicles remained in stock for Monday and Tuesday, he said.
Dollar Rental wasn't certain of the number of standard luxury vehicles available in Cleveland, but at least two Chrysler 300 / Cadillac CTS class vehicles were primed for rental from Monday - Friday for $858.85. As with every call center rep, the Dollar rep hastened to try to "lock in" the rate.
Enterprise quoted a vehicle in the Lincoln MKZ class (again, not premium luxury) at $716.28 for four days with no discounts. Thrifty, too, offered only a Volvo S80 for $858.85.
With options so scarce, where can self-respecting wealthy Republicans turn for their high-end wheels?
Dennis Lafferty, the VP of Community Relations for Bernie Moreno Companies (Northeast Ohio's resident luxury auto dealer) told Scene
that Bernie Moreno isn't in the rental business; however, they have "taken care of" some "friends of the company" and their "special needs."
"We were asked early on for a number of luxury vehicles," Lafferty said, "private enterprises that were bringing in VIPs. Bernie Moreno also furnished luxury vehicles for the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade last month.