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Speaking At ITS 2014, Ford's Executive Chairman Talks Connected Cars

To most people, Bill Ford is most famous for being the great-grandson of Henry Ford. But, as the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, Ford has also been leading the company into greener and greener territory. At the morning plenary session for the 21st World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Detroit today, Ford discussed a wide variety of topics, including connected cars (of course), plug-in vehicle and how Ford's collaboration with Zipcar came about because of he liked wha

The world's largest carsharing company is subscribing to the theory that one can never have enough payment options. Zipcar, whose vehicle inventory numbers more than 10,000 worldwide, is complementing its annual-membership fee structure with a monthly payment option at almost all of its North American markets. That means that those with an aversion to long-term commitments can join in on the car-sharing fun.

Things have taken off for Zipcar in the Motor City. The carsharing leader has gone from offering two cars to 40. Most of these 40 cars will come from one of Detroit's Big Three, Ford Motor Company.

Zipcar has long been the granddaddy of carsharing programs, and has spent years forming partnerships with colleges, cutting a deal with Ford and working with the Feds to become a vendor in the government's Short Term Rental (STR) program. The company also first turned a profit in late 2011. A history like that was attractive enough to traditional car rental company Avis that Avis today announced it will buy Zipcar for $500 million. Avis is paying $12.25 per share. Zipcar's stock closed at $8.24

The nation's biggest car-sharing service, Zipcar, just keeps on getting bigger. This week, Zipcar announced it would now offer short-term car rentals on 36 new higher education schools in North America, trying to capture the use-don't-own spirit of today's young people. The company's new Facebook reservation service (which supplements the existing smartphone reservation apps) speaks to this. All told, Zipcars are now available on over 250 higher education campuses in North America (see the full

Zipcar has a long history of promoting its collection of Minis and Priuses that members can rent by the hour, but after today's announcement that 1,000 Ford vehicles will join the car-sharing program – making it the largest automotive source in Zipcar's University program – we may see a different tune being advertised soon. The first 650 vehicles will be added to the short time rental fleets this academic year, starting this week.

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