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I will be in Killarney in about two weeks. If I set a reservation on the site now will it be that simple to rent/hire a car with an automatic transmission?

I have heard people mention on older forum threads that sometimes you don't get one despite your reservation.

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Automatic transmissions are relatively rare in rental cars outside of Australia and North America, but on the other hand, it's low season, and Killarney gets a large number of American tourists, so you may have better luck. –  choster Sep 24 '13 at 14:42
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"Automatic transmissions are relatively rare in rental cars outside of Australia and North America". I guess this statement is wrong. It isn't rare. –  MeNoTalk Sep 24 '13 at 18:22
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@HaLaBi I did say relatively. It's almost 100% in the U.S., by comparison. –  choster Sep 24 '13 at 22:54
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I thought this was a question about replacing a broken transmission! Only now do I see you want to acquire the rest of the car as well. –  hippietrail Sep 25 '13 at 11:20
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Corrected the title to fit better. –  gokujou Sep 25 '13 at 18:33
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you rent an Automatic, you'll be given an Automatic. If you don't rent an Automatic, you will most likely be given a manual.

In countries like Ireland (presuming you mean Killarney, Ireland?), the majority of rental cars will be manual, and renting an automatic will almost certainly be more expensive. On a rental I had in the UK a few weeks ago, the prices for an automatic ranged from 2 times to 5 times the price of a manual, and at least one company was "sold out" of all automatics whilst still renting manuals.

As with any rental cars, there's always the possibility that they will not have what you've booked when you arrive. This is normally caused by people not returning vehicles on time, leaving the location short of a specific type of car. This is no difference regardless of whether you book an auto or a manual, with the exception that as companies in the UK normally have less autos available there is potentially a greater chance of this happening when you book an auto. If this does happen, you should ask the company to make you a booking at a different rental company and cover the additional costs (if any).

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Also in the UK and presumably Ireland, automatic transmission is generally (although not exclusively) confined to the luxury car segment. Unlike in places such as North America. –  Simon Sep 26 '13 at 13:17
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@Simon I disagree. Although most Luxury cars will be auto by default, autos are also available in most other classes. A few weeks ago in the UK I was given a Chevy Cruze when I rented an Auto, and on other occasions I've received VW Jettas and Golfs - all standard car models. –  Doc Sep 27 '13 at 9:33
    
Automatic transmission is widely available in other classes/types of vehicles. However Europeans prefer (on the whole) when driving "non-luxury" vehicles to drive manual transmission, as its cheaper and for most people a far better & more engaging driving experience. Automatic transmission (for Europeans at least) would be confined to those who drive (and rent) Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar etc...... –  Simon Sep 27 '13 at 10:37
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A quick search on google for 'automatic car rental killarney' shows that there are several companies, show that many of the resulting companies let you specify.

As you point out, sometimes mistakes happen, and your specification on the online form might be mis-read, or ignored.

However, your best bet is to phone the company you rent from, and specify that you're unable to / don't want to drive a manual transmission, and get them to email in writing confirming that you'll receive an automatic.

Then I'd suggest ringing them again a few days out to double-check that they will indeed have one ready for you, and that it'll be automatic only.

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Mark, it's not so much a question of "mistakes". Almost every car rental agency treats even the car class as a "best-effort" only - which they tend to say explicitly in the T&Cs. I guess this makes managing their fleet easier. I've had precisely this problem before - reserving automatic, getting manual. About the only exception I know are "rent this specific model"-type bookings, such as some Hertz car classes. So I doubt they will put this in writing. Chances of getting what you asked for are good, but are unlikely to be guaranteed. –  Andrew Ferrier Sep 25 '13 at 15:45
    
That fits very much with what I read that autos are more rare in the smaller the rental office thus you are more likely to have a manual waiting for you. –  gokujou Sep 25 '13 at 18:37
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I emailed Europcar UK car hire rental firm regarding this matter at the following email:

ReservationsUK@europcar.com

There prompt response was:

Dear Simon,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Yes, the category for a standard automatic car in Ireland would be a Toyota Avensis or similar.

Regards,

Abel Murillo

Europcar UK Group | Reservation Agent

So there shouldn't be a problem with hiring an automatic car within Ireland, as we expected.

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