New Car Sharing Service Hertz Zipcar

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
new car sharing service hertz zipcar

Conservative talk show host Bill “I swear the nuns didn’t beat me” O’Reilly likes to rail on (and on and on) about America’s cultural degradation. In fact, it’s one of our country’s greatest strengths. Rappers who started by singing (well, shouting) the praises of capping cops end-up in Bentley-and-bling filled videos that make unbridled consumerism seem like the ultimate revenge against The Man. Hell, there ain’t nothin‘ we can’t assimilate! For profit, obviously. And the people who profit most are always the distributors. I’m not sure what Karl Marx had to say on the subject– I’ve got “How To Make a Killing off of Karl Marx” on my night table– but he who controls the distribution owns the gold. So along comes Zipcar. Nice idea: rent a car by the hour. Here’s your card. Pick up a car, swipe ‘n go. After eight long years, they get a bit of traction: 5,500 cars in 13 cities. Rad dude! I guess we’re showing those big rental companies how it should be done! Problem: Hertz.

The New York Times reports that Hertz is starting a service called Connect by Hertz “that is strikingly similar to Zipcar’s. Available initially in New York and Hertz’s hometown of Park Ridge, N.J., as well as London and Paris, it will serve customers who pay an annual fee to rent cars by the hour — without some of the hidden and not-so-hidden fees lumped into typical rental contracts.

“Like Zipcar, Connect by Hertz members can make reservations online and use swipe cards to open their cars, which will be parked at 10 lots in Midtown Manhattan. In a nod to Zipcar’s success in signing up young drivers, the Toyota Prius and the Mini Cooper will be among the first 35 cars that Connect by Hertz will offer in New York.”

Let’s think about this. Zipcar: 5,500 cars spread across the country. (And that’s after merging with Flexcar in ’07.) Hertz: 40k cars in New York City alone. So, the question must be asked– and the Times asks it- what’s Zipcar got that Hertz ain’t got?

“We’re certainly sitting up and noticing what other competitors are doing,” said Zipcar’s chief executive, Scott Griffith. But “this is Hertz car sharing 1.0 and we’re at Zipcar 8.0.”

Ah. Seems to me the Great AmeriBorg is about to bite his butt.

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  • ZCline ZCline on Dec 17, 2008

    I use zipcar here in Portland, OR. It is great for someone like me- lives downtown, generally walks or bikes everywhere, not adverse to public transportation, but sometimes needs a car. Its great for something like say, a job interview, doctor's appointment, or a rare trip to a mall/home depot to pick up something big. No need to pay for a big truck! Those are probably the best and most common use cases though. The daily rates are really high, probably cheaper to rent something cheap from Hertz. You can't do anything one-way, as each car has its own dedicated spot. So if you just want to get home, you're calling a cab. I got a pretty good deal, where they waived the first year's fees and even gave me $50 in credit, which paid for my first two rentals. I like the service, I hope it doesn't go away. Also as nudave mentions, the cars are generally higher quality than most rentals. Mini's, convertibles and coupes, although sadly not the S model. Miatas, lots of Hondas, and recently a BMW 328!

  • Kamm Kamm on Dec 18, 2008

    Here in Park Slope (Brooklyn) I have TWO Zipcar stables in TWO neighboring (parallel) streets: one on my corner, another on the next one - I highly doubt Hertz will be able to beat Zipcar anytime soon in my area... :D

  • Prabirmehta Great review! Brought back memories of my 2005 Z4 - loved it! I recently drove the 2023 Z4 and it felt similar in many ways to my 2005 (despite the much nicer and updated interior). Now your review has me rethinking whether to buy another one? :)
  • Haruhi Where’s this exact location
  • ToolGuy This is a good approach and a nice writeup, but it shows Tim Healey as the author. Who wrote it?
  • FreedMike Race car drivers are all alpha-types. Aggression is part of the deal. I think you see more of that stuff in NASCAR because crashes - the end result of said aggression - are far more survivable than they would be in F1 or IndyCar.
  • Analoggrotto Only allow Tesla drivers to race, we are the epitome of class and brilliance.