Avis Budget’s Zipcar Going Mainstream With Business Travelers

Skift Take

In certain settings and circumstances, and that includes airports and business travel usage, Zipcar is turning out to be an attractive option. Hey, even AARP members are getting on board.

— Dennis Schaal

When the CEO of Avis Budget Group starts touting the sharing economy “and what that may imply for car ownership,” then you know that the extent to which its Zipcar subsidiary is truly going mainstream.

Channeling his inner Travis Kalanick, the Uber CEO who believes that the sharing economy may one day eclipse car ownership as the dominant means of transportation, Avis Budget CEO Ron Nelson stated:

“To the extent that phenomenon [the sharing economy] manifests itself in a more meaningful way, the strength of the Zipcar brand is a meaningful competitive advantage for us driven by our obsession with the member experience that has led to world-class customer satisfaction scores.”

Nelson’s comments came during the company’s second quarter earnings call August 5.

During the quarter, Avis Budget added Zipcar usage to six corporate accounts for business travelers, and gave seniors an enhanced opportunity to get into Zipcar mode through an exclusive contract with AARP.

Overalll, during the second quarter Zipcar added 18 new universities, brining its total to more than 325, and added five new markets, including Houston, to reach a total of 28, Nelson said.

Zipcar rentals are now available at 38 airports, with six added in the second quarter.

Zipcar also ntroduced one-way rentals, starting in its Boston base of operations, during the second quarter.

Avis Budget is getting a lot of the fleet flexibility that it touted when it acquired Zipcar for $491 million in early 2013.

In the second quarter, Avis Budget transferred about 1,000 vehicles to Zipcar to meet a surge in Summer demand.

Nelson said he’s never been more optimistic about Avis Budget, which has seen its sixth consecutive quarter of price increases.

It’s now safe to call the price increases a trend, Nelson said.

Avis Budget recorded $26 million in net income in the second quarter of 2014, compared with a net loss of  $28 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 10% to $2.19 billion.

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