Zipcar was founded in 2000 and was acquired by car-rental company Avis Budget in 2013 for $500 million. It now operates in more than 500 cities and around more than 500 college campuses (Avis Budget doesn't break out Zipcar's annual revenue or earnings). The company, which offers more than 50 makes and models of vehicles, will launch its more-flexible service options in Los Angeles during the next few weeks, and will expand the additional options to much of the rest of the US this year.
The company debuted a one-way-rental beta program in Boston in late 2014 but only with 2015 Honda Fit models, for some reason. Zipcar representatives said at the time that it started offering its so-called "ONE>WAY" in response to the expanded offerings of other carsharing companies such as Daimler's Car2go. That company, whose recent expansion push includes metropolitan areas such as New York City and Minnesota's Twin Cities, uses Smart ForTwo vehicles
There are more players entering the urban-mobility sector, which has been further expanded by the rapid growth of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. There's BlueIndy, obviously, and General Motors recently made a $500-million investment in Lyft, with an eye on ultimately developing an autonomous-vehicle division. GM followed that up by acquiring the assets of shuttered ride-sharing service Sidecar. You can read Zipcar's press release below.
Members will enjoy greater freedom and cities and campuses will benefit from a new comprehensive mobility solution
BOSTON, February 25, 2016 - Zipcar, the world's leading car sharing network, today announced plans to launch a suite of new features representing the company's next generation of mobility services. Zipcar's new services include:
Choose your destination: Designated vehicles can be used either one-way or round trip, with parking included, providing members a variety of trip options.
Change destination mid-trip: Members can reserve a vehicle which can be returned to a different end destination as plans change during a trip, providing the freedom to enjoy the journey.
Extend reservations indefinitely: Members can continue the trip for as long as they choose.
Zipcar will now blend the best of its round-trip model — guaranteed parking, more than 50 vehicle types and advanced reservations — with the spontaneity and freedom of new flexible features, all available through the company's website or mobile app.
For Zipcar, which was founded 16 years ago and today serves nearly a million members, this marks a significant expansion of its pioneering service that will provide an even wider set of mobility solutions. Zipcar will begin to roll out its new flexible service in select North American markets throughout the year, including Los Angeles in the coming weeks.
"Zipcar is evolving to offer the most options, the most flexibility and the largest global network of any mobility provider," said Kaye Ceille president of Zipcar. "Combined with our global network in more than 500 cities and towns, our proven round-trip model, as well as a choice of more than 50 different makes and models, this 'most flexible Zipcar yet' provides a comprehensive mobility service that solves transportation challenges for cities and enables our members even more freedom and spontaneity. We've known for the past 16 years that the future of mobility is paying for the trip, not the car, and this evolution will enable Zipcar continue to lead the transformation in urban mobility."
As the company looks to 2017 and beyond, the service will continue to evolve with an even greater focus on flexible mobility solutions. Zipcar will provide members with not only the right car for the trip, but also a wider variety of trip types – round trip, one-way with parking, one-way and park where you choose, and even the option to travel between cities.
"Our members are co-creators of our service, and this inflection is a result of their feedback as well as key learnings from our ONE>WAY beta program in Boston and in various test markets," said Nichole Mace, vice president, product and member experience. "We plan to provide our members with the mobility solutions they want today, as well as have the foresight to provide members the solutions they will want tomorrow."
Over the past year, Zipcar has employed an extensive member research effort to determine the current and future needs of its evolving member base. This includes both qualitative and quantitative research, member and non-member focus groups, as well as in-depth member roundtable events where the company has flown in members from across North America to better understand their transportation needs.
Zipcar launched its ONE>WAY beta program in partnership with Honda in late 2014 in Boston. At launch, Zipcar's new flexible offering will consist solely of select Honda vehicles including the Honda Fit – the fuel-efficient, versatile and fun subcompact that can fit up to five people and their gear. As a trusted mobility partner, additional Honda vehicles will be added into the service as it evolves.
For more than 15 years, members have trusted Zipcar for a variety of round trips from the ordinary (grocery store runs or a drive around town) to the extraordinary (weddings or bringing Baby home). With the evolution of Zipcar's service offering, members will soon have more flexibility in the types of trips they can take. More information is available at: www.zipcar.com/flexible.
About Zipcar Zipcar is the world's leading car sharing network, driven by a mission to enable simple and responsible urban living. With its wide variety of self-service vehicles available by the hour or day, its industry-leading university, business and government fleet programs, and its operations on over 500 college campuses and in more than 500 cities and towns across eight countries, Zipcar offers the most comprehensive, most convenient and most flexible car sharing options available. Zipcar is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CAR), a leading global provider of vehicle rental services. More information is available at www.zipcar.com.