Introduction to Zipcar
Zipcar is an American car-sharing company and a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group. Zipcar provides automobile reservations to its members, billable by the minute, hour or day; members may have to pay a monthly or annual membership fee in addition to car reservations charges. Zipcar was founded in 2000 by Antje Danielson and Robin Chase. As of September 25, 2018, the business is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and averages a one-star review from the BBB from numerous complaints alleging deceptive business practices.
On March 14, 2013, Avis Budget Group purchased Zipcar for approximately US$500 million in cash, making Zipcar its subsidiary. Scott Griffith, who had run the company for the previous 10 years, resigned the day after the acquisition closed and passed the reins to a new company president, Mark Norman. In early 2014, Kaye Ceille took over as Zipcar’s North American President. In the summer of 2016, Kaye Ceille became a managing director of Avis Budget Group International.
In September 2016, Zipcar announced that it had 1 million members across 500 cities in 9 countries, and offers nearly 10,000 vehicles in the United States, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Members can reserve vehicles with Zipcar’s mobile app, online, or in some places by phone at any time, either immediately or up to a year in advance. Zipcar members have automated access to the cars using an access card which unlocks the door; the keys are already located inside. Alternatively, members can use Zipcar’s Android or iPhone app to locate a Zipcar by honking its horn as well as to unlock the doors. Zipcar charges a one-time application fee, an annual fee, and a reservation charge. Fuel, parking, insurance, and maintenance are included in the price.
In the third quarter of 2007, Zipcar merged with Seattle-based rival Flexcar to create a nationwide car rental company. The company’s IPO was in April 2011. Zipcar common stock traded on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “ZIP” until it was acquired by Avis in 2013.
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