Nissan and Enterprise CarShare announced Tuesday a plan to equip 90 colleges and universities in the United States exclusively with Nissan cars for students to move, haul, travel (and barf in the backseat) for $5 an hour until Dec. 31.
Presumably, the college experience includes familiarity with the Versa Note’s hand-crank windows and will ultimately feed into Nissan’s College Grad sales program.
(I’d like to say the whole thing will be wildly ineffectual, but while typing away on my Mac this morning the first basis for reference I could think of was my elementary school’s beige Apple crapboxes in the 1980s. On that basis: It’ll work, Nissan.)
Just like children who pledged allegiance to the flag before they started their school day, a number of grown adults are brand faithfuls who pledged their hard-earned dollars to a cause they believed is theirs to fight. For whatever reason, they are still steadfast in their belief that their brand is the best, their truck is better than all others and their car is the most reliable piece of transportation since God invented feet.
Yet, if there’s one thing that the last week, last month, last year, or even the last decade has taught us it’s that companies, specifically automakers, do not care about us. Not one bit.
Allow me to explain.
2014 has been a good year for the rental car industry. A recovering economy has meant more car rentals and more miles traveled by consumers. Volume alone isn’t responsible for the rental companies’ recent success, though. Each of the big three rental chains has been able to raise prices, thanks to the consolidation of an industry that they now collectively control 98% of.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Canadian subsidiary is buying AutoShare, a Toronto-based car sharing company that has established itself as a successful competitor to Zipcar.
While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, it follows last year’s takeover of ZipCar by Avis Budget Group. For now, AutoShare will be managed from Toronto, and operate under the AutoShare brand. According to The Globe and Mail, AutoShare started in 1998, and has now grown to 12,000 members, with its membership focused in Toronto alone.
But with the backing of Enterprise, that could change. With high gas prices, a largely urban population centered in dense downtown areas and a culture more receptive to eco-friendly measures like public transit, Canada is a country that would be willing to embrace car sharing services. Don’t be surprised if AutoShare starts expanding – and a move south of the 49th parallel could be in the cards as well.
Tis better to own a Leaf or an S than to rent one, it seems. According to Enterprise Holdings Inc., known for driving around in cars wrapped in branded brown paper for some reason, customers who rent electric-only vehicles from their lot soon return their sustainable rides for a one with a sustainable range based on the number of (gasoline and diesel) fuel stops along the way.