Avis buys Zipcar for $500 million, will make more cars available to Zipsters

Avis buys Zipcar

Vehicle rental giant Avis Budget Group announced today that it will purchase popular car-sharing company Zipcar for approximately $500 million. Zipcar shareholders must approve the deal before it is finalized, Avis said.

“We see car sharing as highly complementary to traditional car rental, with rapid growth potential and representing a scalable opportunity for us as a combined company,” said Ronald L. Nelson, Avis Budget Group chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “We expect to apply Avis Budget’s experience and efficiencies of fleet management with Zipcar’s proven, customer-friendly technology to accelerate the growth of the Zipcar brand and to provide more options for Zipsters in more places. We also expect to leverage Zipcar’s technology to expand mobility solutions under the Avis and Budget brands.”

For Zipcar users, known as “Zipsters,” the acquisition means better availability of Zipcars, Avis said, as the company, which encompasses both Avis and Budget car rental services, will make some of its traditional fleet available as Zipcar vehicles during weekends when demand for Zipcar service is particularly high.

Launched in 2000, Zipcar has since expanded to dozens of metropolitan areas in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, as well as 300 college and university campuses. Avis says Zipcar generates around $400 million a year in revenue from its more than 760,000 members.

To use Zipcar, customers sign up for an annual Zipcar membership. Once a member is approved – you have to have a good driving record and be over a certain age – Zipcar then provides a membership card, which uses an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip to unlock and lock the car. Zipcar members can then reserve a Zipcar online, or through an iOS or Android app, which can also be used to unlock and lock the car. To pick up the car, a user simply finds the vehicle at the designated Zipcar parking spots, unlocks the car with her so-called Zipcard, hops in, and drives off. The user then returns the Zipcar to the same parking spot by the end of the reservation period, which can be as little as one hour.

Avis’s acquisition of Zipcar is expected to go through by spring of this year.

Update: It looks as though the Avis/Zipcar deal might drive into some trouble. Securities litigation firm Powers Taylor, and former SEC attorney Willie Briscoe, announced that they may file a lawsuit to stop the deal, or at least change the terms. The problem, they say, is that $500 million is too low a number. “Under the terms of the proposed deal valued at approximately $500 million, Zipcar shareholders will only receive $12.25 in cash for each share of Zipcar stock owned, which is below the 52 week high of $16.25 per share,” the law firms said. Briscoe added that “due to the proposed sale price, the size of the deal and other factors, we believe this transaction may undervalue Zipcar’s stock. Our proposed lawsuit will seek to obtain the highest share price for all shareholders.”

Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.

Lime’s first carsharing service motors into Seattle this week

Lime may be better known for its app-based bike and scooter rental services, but in Seattle, Washington this week it's launching its very first carsharing service, similar to Car2go and Zipcar.

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?