Today I rented a car. I reserved a subcompact because I generally like small cars and I am rather thrifty (wanting to spend less on gas). However, at the Avis counter, I was told that my reservation was upgraded. I found that upgrade meant they were giving me a Lincoln Towncar. Not wanting to drive this big of a car, I asked for a different vehicle. I was told there were no small cars and that my only other option was a SUV or a convertible. I took the convertible thinking it would be smaller and cheaper on gas. The convertible is a Ford Mustang (MPG 18 to 25). Now I know that I am probably lucky to be driving this ‘American Classic’ that I will never own, but I feel that their ‘upgrade’ is really a downgrade when it comes to my preference.
I remember reading a comment on the Freakonomics Blog on how the car companies are having a difficult time selling their gas inefficient cars. Thus, they have given rental companies good deals on them. The rental car company can provide consumers with ‘upgrades’, but in actuality the consumer is getting a car that the average car buyer does not want (because it is gas inefficient).