Planning a trip to Sardinia? If so, we can only say we're a bit envious -- everything we see from tourist promotion materials and traveler rating websites shows an area with fantastic natural beauty, high-quality accommodations, and activities for everyone (including a UNESCO World Heritage site). After all, Sardinia is a big island with much to explore (the two airports are over 150 miles apart). Car enthusiasts who've made their way to the island have access to another treat. Sixt has partnered directly with auto manufacturers to guarantee every vehicle in their local fleet is either a model produced by MINI or BMW. Sixt has a reputation for slightly more upscale offerings at their rental sites but still, Sardinia represents a rarity. At the time of reservation, the vehicle manufacturer will be known and most renters will be able to ascertain precisely which vehicle model should be assigned.

Some of our team members have already started looking at frequent flyer mile balances.

Sardinia is a new market for Sixt and they've opened sites at the airports in Cagliari and Olbia in style. Their partnership with MINI and BMW is exceptional in many respects but it reflects the nature of renting vehicles on an island; the company is able to keep this new fleet of vehicles from mixing with vehicles at other sites! In fact, the MINI and BMW guarantee wouldn't -- and couldn't -- really exist without a firm geographic barrier; otherwise, cars would consistently be out-of-position after being taken on unscheduled one-way rentals. 

And while an educated consumer can almost guarantee the exact make/model combination at these Sixt locations, guaranteed car models are largely a relic of the past. Guaranteed manufacturers and models date to when most major manufacturers once owned rental car companies or had strong alliances with one or more rental car companies. Those manufacturers learned a hard economic lesson -- if a large number of vehicles are placed in the rental fleet and removed after a short period of use, those "former rentals" depress the prices of new cars as well as other used cars! Here in the States, we love Audi's Silvercar rental company at major airports that only rents Audis (A4s and the recently added Q5s). We also know that the resale market for A4s and Q5s -- especially those painted silver -- will become flooded with used rental vehicles in the not-too-distant future!

Silvercar in the U.S. and Sixt in Sardinia are true rarities. Elsewhere in the world, a renter reserving a vehicle will see "or similar" in the vehicle description. The statement "or similar" means that the rental car company only has to provide a vehicle with similar capability per industry trade group ACRISS. An individual renting a full-size car in Orlando might see "Nissan Altima or similar" but needs to expect any full-size car; the vehicle simply needs to seat five adults and have the proper storage capacity. At Sixt's competitors in Sardinia, we would expect to see a variety of "more traditional" and slightly less luxurious rental cars including Fiats, Lancias, Opels, and Peugeots rather than Sixt's guaranteed MINIs or BMWs.

Yet with Sixt in Sardinia, there's one nuance with their upgraded selection of MINI and BMW vehicles. It's the reason we state that renters can almost (but not quite) guarantee an exact model.

You see, we're fans of leveraging frequent renter programs -- including Sixt's loyalty program -- and know Platinum Sixt status provides a one category upgrade outside the United States if an upgraded vehicle is available at the time of pickup (rentals in the United States get double upgrades if available). So a renter reserving a Standard Car at Sixt in Sardinia should expect a BMW Serie 2 but may get upgraded to a BMW Serie 3 with Platinum Sixt status; neither of those vehicles would represent a hardship and that's the type of slight uncertainty we're more than happy to encounter in our travels!  

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