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Enterprise gets into car-sharing with I-GO CarSharing acquisition

May 28, 2013 2:16 pm

Skift Take

If you are a car-rental company, you have to own a car-sharing division, as Enterprise has come to understand. The space is obviously turbo-charged and poised for growth.

— Dennis Schaal

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An I-GO CarSharing vehicle parked in Chicago's downtown. flickr.com


Enterprise Holdings said Tuesday it will buy Chicago’s I-GO CarSharing, making the country’s largest car rental company the last to venture into the rapidly growing market.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The companies said in a statement it will close Tuesday.

I-GO, which was the first car-sharing service in Chicago, has more than 15,000 members and 200 locations in 40 neighborhoods across the city. It was established in 2002 through a pilot program of the non-profit Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Enterprise Holdings, based in St. Louis, owns the flagship Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand as well as National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car.

Car sharing has rapidly grown in popularity during the past decade, seen as a simpler alternative to traditional car rentals in cities or on college campuses. It allows users to take short trips of an hour or two, picking up a car from a nearby parking space, rather than trudging out to an airport or rental car location. Gas and insurance is also included with car sharing services — things traditional car rentals don’t.

Avis Budget¬†earlier this year bought I-GO’s far-larger rival Zipcar for about $500 million. Zipcar had 775,000 members as of March, and serves 20 cities and 300 colleges. Avis Budget Group Inc. is the third-largest U.S. rental car company, behind Enterprise and Hertz Global Holdings Inc.

Hertz has its own car-sharing service is started in 2008 and in 2009 bought Eileo, a car sharing service based in Paris.

sbomkamp@tribune.com — Twitter: @SamWillTrave ___

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