Is Avis Budget the Priceline of the rental car industry in allowing subsidiaries to operate independently? Zipcar and its employees will soon find out.
Founded a dozen years ago, car-sharing service Zipcar, which will be acquired by Avis Budget Group for $500 million, is now actively explaining to its employees why it’s likely leaving startup culture behind and going corporate.
In an employee FAQ, posted on the SEC site yesterday, the questions that top the list are: “Why are we doing this? I thought we didn’t want to be a rental car company? And why Avis Budget Group in particular?” Zipcar answers:
We have been very clear in our mission and vision for the past 10 years. Avis Budget Group shares our vision of the future of personal mobility and has made a strategic commitment to play a significant role in helping Zipcar shape that future. Among the many benefits of partnering up with Avis Budget are its global presence – more than 10,000 locations in 165 countries; its strong corporate relationships with small and mid size businesses and its extensive experience in the travel industry. All of these can, and we believe will, be very beneficial as Zipcar extends its core services into new markets as well as continues to develop new service offerings.
We believe we can leverage the global capabilities of both companies to fulfill this vision with a full ‘A to Z’ offering under one roof of strong global brands. Avis Budget brings locations, experience, efficiency, business leadership and service excellence while Zipcar brings leading technology, a brand synonymous with the category, the leading experience in car sharing and over 750,000 members.
We believe the combination of Zipcar and Avis Budget will accelerate the growth and expansion of next generation, on-demand mobility to consumers and businesses, which is great for all of us. We conducted a thorough review process and we are thrilled with the outcome, which delivers significant and immediate value to our stockholders and better positions us to deliver on our mission of enabling simple, efficient and responsible transportation solutions on a global scale.
On the employee review site Glassdoor, Zipcar gets a 3.4 rating out of a possible 5 from participating employees.
On the positive side, one former employee wrote in a review of Zipcar on Glassdoor: “Though the company is more than 10 years old now, it retains the excitement of a startup. Friendly coworkers, great management, and easy to have your voice heard. Great corporate culture.”
All of that will be tested as Zipcar transitions and becomes a subsidiary of the much larger and global Avis Budget — a car-rental company.
Other themes that permeate Zipcar’s employee FAQ are that Avis Budget has made a commitment to allowing Zipcar to operate somewhat independently, and that strategic plans are on hold for now.
Does this impact any of our planned strategic initiatives?
No. We will need to remain laser focused on our major initiatives in the coming weeks and months while the formalities of the transaction take place. After that, once the transaction is complete, we will roll up our sleeves with the team at Avis Budget and chart what we believe to be an exciting plan for moving forward. You have our commitment that we will continue to communicate with all employees frequently during this time of change.
Zipcar had 496 employees at the end of 2011.
The full Zipcar employee FAQ follows: