With auto manufacturers, dealerships, and insurance agencies scrambling to find a way to retain customers during a global pandemic, now is the season of trying new things. Insurance companies have begun offering refunds on premiums for certain people who can’t afford to pay (and aren’t driving) during the health crisis. Automakers are offering heavy incentives on just about everything, cutting additional breaks for those left unemployed. Dealers are swapping to digital sales models to avoid as much direct contact with buyers as humanly possible while still making a sale.
But what are ride-sharing companies supposed to do?
Zipcar has a few ideas. With ride-hailing services and taxi cabs being viewed by many as mobile germ carriages, you wouldn’t expect shared vehicles to be in demand. Zipcar is making a few changes in a bid to make it all the more appetizing. Rather than relying on its typical hourly (or daily) price rates, it has expanded its Dedicated Zipcar vehicle program for weekly rentals. But that puts the business up against traditional rental firms, which have slashed their prices to an almost comical degree.
Having already launched the Care by Volvo subscription program, the Swedish-Chinese automotive brand wants to continue cramming feathers into its cap. It’s now launching a new mobility brand that sounds very similar to car-sharing services offered by numerous automakers and rental firms.
There could be an issue with the naming strategy, however. Volvo wants to call the company M, which is a letter of the alphabet that’s of particular interest for BMW. In case you’ve been in a coma for the last forty years, the German automaker has used the letter M (for Motorsport) to denote its performance division and affixes it to everything in its lineup with sporting pretensions. While it probably can’t claim ownership of all things relating to the mark, it’s definitely not going to be thrilled to see Volvo using it.
Bitter rivals Daimler AG and BMW are planning to combine their car-sharing services —Car2Go and DriveNow — to compete with North America’s Uber car service. The two must be desperate to make headway into the world of vehicle ownership alternatives if they are willing to cooperate on the project.
BMW famously avoided a Daimler-Benz takeover in 1959 by convincing nearly every employee to invest back into the company, thus avoiding both bankruptcy and being forced to join with their main competitor. More recently, Daimler offered BMW employees free admission to the Mercedes-Benz Museum for BMW’s 100th birthday, where they could learn “the complete history of the automobile.”
In the end, they caught him, sitting on his bike, near a Billy Joel concert that he was probably listening to ironically, identifiable by his ridiculous handlebar mustache. And now the (grand) jury is in on Ian Hespelt: three felony charges and associated misdemeanors. So what did he do? Only this: he rode the wrong way in traffic with a group of cyclists, falsified an impact with a Zipcar being driven legally by a woman of indeterminate age but definitely diminutive size, attempted to hold her against her will with the assistance of other cyclists, then assaulted her with a U-lock as she drove away.
As a cyclist who has been struck five times by vehicles, once hard enough to snap my neck and leg and require the replacement of every red blood cell in my body, I have long struggled to understand the behavior of “Critical Mass” activists, even as I have nodded in sympathy at their frustration with “cagers” who often feel empowered to menace or attack cyclists simply for existing in their vicinity. I consider the car/bike dynamic in American society to be a massive indictment of human nature; given the advantage of safety and security over the two-wheelers around them, the average driver reacts by turning into a cross between the Emperor Commodus as portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix and Judge Dredd.
Oh well. Let’s watch the video, and then I’ll tell you the reason that my favorite blogger would give you for this mook’s behavior.
There a few things I can’t wrap my mind around these days.
Take for example, Zipcar. The car sharing firm that supposedly offers the Millenial vibe, is actually run by the
old GM dumping ground for unpopular vehicles established rental company Avis.
That’s not a bad thing at all. Long story short, the opportunity for Zipcar to buy and manage vehicles at Avis procurement levels makes what was once a pipe dream, financially realistic. Avis gets to expand their fleet with minimal overhead costs (the two companies share the same vehicle fleet), and Zipcar gets to focus on expanding the idea of car sharing.
The problem for me is that the economics of car sharing under a corporate umbrella is still a bad idea for 99% of the folks out there.
20 internet connections
20 videos of The Lion King.
Oh, and 60+ vehicles on one street.
I recently delved deep into one of the more challenging ideas of the modern age: car sharing in suburbia. It’s an idea that many non-enthusiasts and city dwellers love. But is it a good idea for suburbanites and the rest of us?
According to a report from consulting firm AlixPartners, each and every car in the Zipcar or car2go car-sharing fleets means 32 lost vehicle sales. Based on a survey of 2,000 adults in 10 major cities who use car-sharing services, the report says that Americans would have bought an additional half million new or used cars and light trucks since 2006 if they did not have access to those services. That figure is expected to grow to 1.2 million by the end of the decade.
In cities where owning a car can be a pain (New York, Boston, Seattle), drivers are opting instead to share vehicles with other drivers, with companies such as ZipCar, Car2Go, RelayRides et al offering their services to help the public get around. All anyone needs beyond the basics is a subscription to the car-sharing service, a reservation, and a drop-off location when they are finished with their errands. Even big-name rental car companies like Enterprise and Hertz are jumping into the new business model for a test drive, Avis having gone the farthest by purchasing ZipCar in January of 2013.
However, the insurance offered by these peer-to-peer rental companies might not all that it’s cracked up to be, with severe consequences should anything remotely catastrophic occur.
My last Rental Review re-ignited one of TTAC’s “third rail” debates, that of compact pickups versus their full-size brethren. For the uninitiated, this topic is only slightly less contentious than discussing the merits of Roe v. Wade on a 1970’s college campus. User krhodes1 commented that when it comes to small trucks versus an equivalently priced full-sizer “Sometimes paying more for less is worth it.” I’m not entirely sure I agree with this sentiment across the board, but I know someone who does when it comes to minivans: my mother.
The compact pickup is an endangered species in North America, but the reasons for its demise depend on which camp you ask. Its proponents will tell you that CAFE, the chicken tax and marketing campaigns have all conspired to kill off small trucks. Detractors claim that the new generation of full-size trucks are just as fuel-efficient and affordable, while in many cases being more refined.
I really like pickups, but haven’t had a lot of seat time in them. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that I mistakenly called the new Ram 1500 a “quarter ton” pickup, with some members of the B&B responding in a manner that made Kohmeni’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie look measured and calm. In keeping with our new mandate to expand TTAC’s rental review program, I decided to work out my Zipcar membership when I needed to haul two sets of R-Compound tires and wheels to the tire shop. And it just so happened that I ended up with what could actually be called a quarter-ton pickup.
I recently yelled at another driver. I know, I know: this is bad behavior. It’s even worse because I have a Range Rover, which makes you look like a total prick when you’re yelling at someone else on the road. Or, you could remove “when you’re yelling at someone else on the road” and that sentence would still be true.
Zipcar, the leading player in car sharing in North America, is about to be acquired by Avis Budget Group for $500 million in cash. The rental car firm will pay $12.25 per share, a whopping 49 percent premium relative to Zipcar’s closing price on December 31st.
Being asked “what car should I buy?” occurs on a weekly basis for me, but I’d rather field that question every day than listen to the recieved wisdom of a magazine racer just once more in my life. The most recent inquiry came from my Uncle Maurice, a kind and generous man who provided my brother and me with a near bottomless supply of Swiss Army knives when we were children.
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- Lou_BC My son already has a Scout EV. Well, okay, RC....
- The Oracle I was in WNY when this went down and it is likely a medical issue and/or some type of rolling domestic. That car was flat out with air bags deployed before it even left the ground. It was a spectacular wreck. The couple made a 7-minute stop at the Seneca Niagara Casino before the fiery launch, and something went terribly wrong in those 7 minutes.
- Lorenzo A union in itself doesn't mean failure, collective bargaining would mean failure.
- Ajla Why did pedestrian fatalities hit their nadir in 2009 and overall road fatalities hit their lowest since 1949 in 2011? Sedans were more popular back then but a lot of 300hp trucks and SUVs were on the road starting around 2000. And the sedans weren't getting smaller and slower either. The correlation between the the size and power of the fleet with more road deaths seems to be a more recent occurrence.
- Jeff_M It's either a three on the tree OR it's an automatic. It ain't both.