By on August 11, 2015


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.) 

Enterprise offers their cars on 90 campuses around the country for drivers who are 18 years old and older (18- to 21-year-old drivers need to get a parental consent form). Enterprise CarShare is also offered in several major metropolitan centers including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

Fees for the service vary depending on usage. The most basic plan includes a $40 annual membership charge and hourly fees from $3 to $9 depending on location.

Competing service ZipCar says they have more than 100 universities signed up for their car sharing service.

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33 Comments on “Nissan, Enterprise Want to Get ‘Em Hooked on Versa Young...”

  • avatar

    You do realize Mac market share was 1-2% for fifteen years until Microsoft Vista was released (and bombed) and OSX is today 7.64%, don’t you? Windows XP still dominates OSX offerings at 11.74%. The only reason Safari and Apple are taken seriously in the IT world is because of the “I” devices which have significant market share in their classes (iOS with 41.56%). Nissan better hope they do better.

    The Nissan strategy may or may not prove fruitful, but I don’t know too many people under 25 who want a “cheap” new car like Versa, they’d rather lease something “acceptable”. Even being exposed to the Versa through car share might backfire because kids could associate it with being cheap and disposable rental fodder the way people today look at W-Impala, late model Pontiacs, Dodge Avenger, etc.

    • 0 avatar

      And I doubt that anything closely associated with college move-ins/outs is something a successful grad will wish to revisit.

      It’s like wanting to remember shared bathrooms with black fungal shower mats.

      Communal living sucks no matter what your social status.

      • 0 avatar

        I actually loved dorm life, it didn’t suck at all. Most fun years I have had in my life. I stayed in school for eight years all together, so it definitely worked for me.

        • 0 avatar

          Dorms work better when you have your own room. The bathroom situation is still awful though.

          • 0 avatar

            Unless your dorm is an old hotel, and you’re on one of the floors that never got converted over to communal bathrooms. Did my entire undergrad years in a one person room with private bathroom (with tub and shower) and a once a week cleaning person who came in to do the bathrooms and keep us straight with the local health department.

            And people wonder why I didn’t get my own place until the post grad years?

          • 0 avatar

            Well college dorm life was a bit different in 1960 :).

          • 0 avatar


            Back in my day we took Conestoga Wagons to school and every week we nearly died of typhoid fever.

      • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      Apple’s market share may be small, but their profit share is enormous, especially when compared to Microsoft. Being taken seriously in the IT world is not a requirement for profits in the computer industry anymore.

      Apple shoehorned their way into the IT world by making a phone people wanted to use. Nissan could very well be trying that same playbook, and having huge market share might not be the goal here, either.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed, Apple’s push to dominate education in the 80’s led them to pathetic market share and near bankruptcy by the 90s. Apple’s bacon was saved by slashing prices (iMac), the internet (software compatibility doesn’t matter when everything is online), and new consumer-oriented tech (ipod, etc.). Apple still has a strong presence in education, but it’s driven by customer demand, not Apple marketing initiatives.

      Nissan’s gimmick may or may not pay off, but I wouldn’t point to Apple as a model. College graduates tend to have little income and lots of debt, “cheap and dependable” should be high on their list of car requirements. I suppose some might decide they can live with a cheap but dependable Versa for a few years until they build up their resumé.

      • 0 avatar

        Good post.

      • 0 avatar

        In my experience, many college graduates are pleased to be able to get anything remotely new. And the Versa Note isn’t a bad car at all. Still, I remain doubtful that this will help Nissan to transition college students into graduate buyers. Having better “College Grad” programs will help far more, I think.

        • 0 avatar

          Is the appeal of “new” really that strong? I never even considered A) buying a new car right after college or B) switching from the I30 that I’d had for a year or so already. Never buy a new car when you’re at your poorest state!

          A few kids got free new cars at the time, but my parents don’t believe in that type of nonsense.

    • 0 avatar

      You do realize there are no “late model Pontiacs”?

    • 0 avatar

      Marketshare is not the only measurement of success. GM’s “we lose money on every one, but make it up in volume” worked great right up until bankruptcy.

      The computing market is no longer measured in desktops. Mobile devices, cloud services, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and embedded devices have simply exploded in the last 10 years and Microsoft is a niche player in almost all of those categories.

      Sure, Microsoft still ships tons of licenses every year to keep corporate america happy – but those licenses are becoming cheaper every year – and if microsoft doesn’t quickly convert those users to their cloud services, the revenue will eventually be lost forever.

      In the last few years we’ve ripped out SQL, Exchange, IIS, and many, many desktop systems running windows. What replaced them? Amazon’s web services, Google Apps, Chromebooks, Android and iOS devices – and lots of MacBooks. Frankly Microsoft in our environment has shrunk to Directory services, file and print servers.

      The cloud may save Microsoft – it is their only hope. Boxed software licenses will be gone in 10 years.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Maybe some of the students will view the stripped down Versas as cool and ironic, and be drawn to them when they graduate and buy their first new car.

  • avatar

    Do these have interior panels rated for pressure washing?

  • avatar

    $5/hr seems way expensive for a NIssan.

    THey should let students rent them for $11/day like they do in FL.

    The Nissan experience could motivate students to work hard least they wind up ………… with a Nissan.

    • 0 avatar

      $5/hr is a great price for a car to take to the track or pound around the backroads. The fact that the driving limits of the car aren’t all that high means maybe a few lives will be saved, too. If they rented stick-shifts it could even be a valuable learning experience!

      The abuse that typical rental cars take is one thing, but this plan is taking it to the next level. There’s a reason many companies won’t even rent to young people.

      Is the babe in the picture wearing a wedding ring? What’s with that? Completely defeats the purpose of having a car if you ask me.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh man I would’ve rented one of these for a couple hours to floor around everywhere and on gravel. Save all the tear on my very nice pearl I30.

      • 0 avatar

        It took several minutes of pondering imaginary scenarios to figure out what you meant by “Completely defeats the purpose of having a car if you ask me.” But it could only mean: “Why would anyone give a married babe a ride in their car?” (Right, because she’s obviously NOT married to THAT guy….?)

    • 0 avatar

      Assuming this service works like Zipcar, the hourly rate includes gas and insurance. These services are aimed at people who don’t own their own car and hence don’t have their own car insurance. Getting insurance coverage from a traditional rental company can easily double or triple the price, and most rental companies charge a large fee for drivers under 25 years old. So overall, it’s probably not a bad service for a college student. Especially considering they’d either be taking the bus, bumming a ride, or driving a 98 Escort if it weren’t for services like this.

  • avatar

    If it comes with the girls in the picture, it will be popular. If not, then a 2 year old Civic remains a vastly superior option.

    • 0 avatar

      In my college days a car’s popularity was mostly based on back seat room… for reasons I’m sure everyone fully understands. Sadly I had a 3 door Civic S 1500 hatch.

    • 0 avatar

      A two-year old Civic is more expensive, less reliable in objective reality, more expensive to service and insure and has lower fuel economy. It also doesn’t make the family think you’ve got it together like news of a new car does.

  • avatar

    I can see kids using these for beer runs and trips to the store. Pack five of them in there, spend an hour shopping and/or cruising. And everybody gives a buck to the dude with his credit card.

    Will that cause them to want a Versa after college when they have more than a dollar to spend on their car? Nope.

  • avatar

    That photo takes me right back to the 50s. When manly men drove cars and pretty women were all too happy to be out of the house (and not pregnant at that moment).

  • avatar

    “18- to 21-year-old drivers need to get a parental consent form”

    Consent form or co-signer to the rental agreement? I wonder if “consent” includes legal or financial liability on the part of the parents.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    It’s a brilliant plan, and here’s why.
    – A lot of colleges don’t allow freshmen to have cars.
    – With tuition costing what it does, a lot of students’ families can’t afford cars.
    – A lot of parents don’t want their kids to have cars in college.

    I know all this because I have two kids in college, and for one of those kids, I was a PTA president when he was in middle school. I know a LOT of parents.

    Now here’s where it makes money. It gets those kids into a Versa, when they’ve been shuttled in minivans for years. It familiarizes them not only with Nissan as a brand, but also Enterprise, who when this is over, will be glad to sell them a used Versa, or rent them a car, or put them back in a short-term rental when they move to the big city after graduating.

    It’s brilliant. Well done Nissan and Enterprise.

  • avatar

    The Versa seems like an appropriate car for today’s lowered expectations and living in your parents basement after graduation.

    Versa: The Perfect Car For When You’ve Completely Given Up On Life

  • avatar

    Making Nissan the fastest car they’ve ever driven!

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