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David Pescovitz at 8:50 am Wed, Jan 2, 2013
Just read the article about this. Said $500M cash. dang. What I wonder is how will this affect the ZipCar base? Isn’t one of the unwritten loves of ZipCar is that it isn’t a big company? Don’t people use it just as much for need as they do for ethics? The friends I have who use it do so partly for that reason.
Oh well, we will see…
I use the service regularly, I’ve never heard of any “ethics” reasons touted, they just provide good customer support and convenience. I’d be concerned about that changing possibly under the new acquisition, but if they can maintain that and profitability, I’ll be pleased.
I hope Avis/Budget adopt Zipcar’s technology for renting cars. It would be incredibly convenient just to walk up to a random car in an airport parking lot, scan my zipcard and drive away without having to stand in line for 10 minutes then get pitched on gasoline refills and insurance or GPS upgrades.
Hertz has a similar system called Hertz On Demand, but it’s only in a few cities around the world. I believe they did buy small businesses providing this kind of service in a few locations (like Flexicar in Sydney).
Portlander here, and that’s the end of my association with ZipCar. Just got off the phone, canceling before my next annual fee. ZipCar (and FlexCar before it) were great, but the fleet has steadily shrunk over the last five years – so that a general search now turns up no cars within 1/2 mile of my home. They have never had enough cars, and this Avis move will only exacerbate that. I doubt that they will be adding a large quantity of cars to the neighborhoods now, but pushing ZipCar users to pick up cars at an Avis lot (much like their current car sharing service). I’ll be moving to a combination of Car2Go (little Smartcars, no annual fee) and U-haul’s car and truck sharing service. Sad to see ZipCar die.
Hertz also owns a company in Australia called Flexicar which is a similar concept minus the flashy apps.