• Aug 3, 2012
Will carsharing become a viable solution for American consumers concerned about traffic congestion, air pollution and making hefty car payments? Will it ever be an appealing transportation alternative, as it is in Europe? It depends on who you ask.

German carmaker Daimler is promoting car sharing through its Car2go subsidiary, where users access Smart Fortwo minicars (in ICE and electric versions) in cities like San Diego, Portland, and Miami. Major car rental companies Hertz and Enterprise entered the short-term rental market a while ago to compete with the largest carsharing vehicle provider, Zipcar. As for Zipcar, carsharing is seeing growing interest on college campuses, however, a recent academic study has shown consumers have concerns that need to be addressed

The study, conducted by Fleura Bardhi (Northeastern University) and Giana Eckhardt (Suffolk University) doesn't dismiss car sharing for U.S. consumers, but suggests taking a more realistic and less ideological approach to making it work. The Zipcar users surveyed said they're not in love with the experience – the car isn't their own, they don't need to take care of it and they don't have connection with the brand.

That being said, they do expect the carsharing company to enforce compliance to their rules. Users expect Zipcar to keep the car on schedule with a filled gas tank, and other amenities. No big surprises here – American consumers do tend to demand a lot these days. Carsharing providers need to be very mindful about how they deliver the message and the service.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      Rotation
      • 7 Hours Ago
      How much money did they spend finding out that people treat rental cars like rental cars?
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 7 Hours Ago
      "The Zipcar users surveyed said they're not in love with the experience – the car isn't their own, they don't need to take care of it and they don't have connection with the brand." This highlights a fundamental problem with the way we work ( selfish by default, anything else is an exception ). People will not follow the rules. They'll put the wrong fuel in. They'll not fill the car up. They'll leave a rotting ham sandwich in the door cubby. Leave the lights on and kill the battery. not turn the car in for repairs, ding it up, etc etc. There is less incentive to treat something well when it is not your property. When multiple people are using a car in a day, it is almost impossible to track who screwed the car up. It takes the rare person to report things and snitch on other users - most would not bother doing so. So the cars either end up neglected, or the cars get fixed up and the cost of the program ends up being very high. When you are paying a premium rate for the service, that reduces the incentive to take care of the car as well because you want to get your value for your dollar. I dunno, i don't see the appeal. Maybe it's because i own 2 paid off cars and my insurance bill is about 80 bucks a month.
      Dave
      • 7 Hours Ago
      Apparently, Zipcar is incapable of installing their logo without leaving bubbles in it.
        Chris
        • 7 Hours Ago
        @Dave
        I saw that first thing too. Lack of attention to details...not a good sign no matter how small an item.
      • 7 Hours Ago
      Bubbles in the branding probably due to the fact that non Zipcar employees are applying them. Carsharing definitely decreases pride in ownership. http://www.carsharedirectory.com/driving-carsharing-membership-growth/
      Rotation
      • 7 Hours Ago
      How much money did they spend finding out that people treat rental cars like rental cars?