“Zipcar was recently purchased by another company,” I recently overheard someone tell her friend.
“I wonder how long it will take them to ruin it?” he asked.
In the past, Zipcar has cultivated the image of being a hip, progressive company that cares about its customers. An abundance of carless urbanites, parking spaces all over major American cities, and brutal $50 late fees, (about which a class action lawsuit in Massachusetts failed) kept Zipcar’s operation running smoothly and profitably.
At some point, Zipcar became of the apple of Avis’s eye. Earlier this year, the rental car giant swallowed up Zipcar for about half a billion dollars. See: Bloomberg, “Avis Budget Embraces Car Sharing With Zipcar Acquisition”(2013) (here); CNN, “ZipCar CEO Scott Griffith resigns, hours after Avis acquisition” (2013) (here). It should be interesting to see how Zipcar changes. The first thing that I expect will happen is that Zipcar’s persona will undergo a subtle transformation. The cutesy, friendly emails will remain, but Avis will find ways to squeeze more money out of “Zipststers” and in so doing, will tick off a lot of the customers who used to love Zipcar.
One recent complaint came to me the other day. The story went like so: Continue reading