The Avis-Zipcar deal, one year later

When the blockbuster Avis Zipcar deal was announced a year ago, industry insiders knew it was a big deal but we didn’t know how things would play out after the transaction.  Let’s take a look at what transpired in the 12 months that followed.  

Media stories about classic carsharing, peer-to-peer carsharing, one-way carsharing, ridesharing  increased dramatically.  The “Sharing Economy” got a cover story in the Economist  magazine. The markets for shared accommodation, shared vehicles, shared tools, used and re-purposed assets grew.  Disruptive innovation became a major regulatory flap as traditional players fueled controversy about risks to public safety, inadequate insurance and avoidance of taxes and levies. The voices of sharing economy and collaborative consumption organizations (like, and became  mainstream in their advocacy for progressive change in the cultural and policy realms.

Major carsharing conference events happened in Toronto and San Francisco in the fall.  Civic government, public transportation authorities and transportation planners started giving more attention to the impact of carsharing in reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, enhancing the overall “liveability” of urban environments.  The California Public Utilities Commission took the lead in regulating companies like Uber, Lyft and SideCar by bringing new rules into force governing the emerging rideshare business.  In November, the US federal government announced that it would be looking at a carsharing program for its 200,000 vehicle fleet with cost savings and efficiencies in mind.

As for Zipcar, the consumer hasn’t observed a great deal of change since the acquisition.  There has been no rebrand, no major change in price, service, or technology.  Zipcar continues to roll out a methodical expansion now including 26 major US cities, plus a handful of airports and college campuses.  The biggest transaction in the history of carsharing hasn’t exactly launched a revolution in the transportation industry, but certainly created an environment where others felt more comfortable taking risks and  pushing the envelope.  Here’s some other noteworthy events from 2013.

January 2013

Avis purchases ZipCar for $491 million

May 2013

Enterprise purchases I-Go for ($undisclosed)

May 2013

RelayRides Acquires Wheelz

May 2013

NY DFS issues a cease and desist order against RelayRides

May 2013

Lyft secures $60 million in financing from Andreessen Horowitz

July 2013

Zimride sells assets to Enterprise ($undisclosed)

August 2013

Google Ventures invest $258 million in Uber

September 2013

CPUC publishes rules governing rideshare (TNC)

At CSA, we expect 2014 should prove to be very interesting year, as well.  HNY!  


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