Does the Avis rental car acquisition of ZipZar indicate the start of a potential trend for automotive retailers and how they connect with the next generation? ZipCar is being acquired by Avis for nearly $500 million. But why? What's the play here?
Initial reports indicate Avis will let ZipCar continue operations as a subsidiary. But, with ZipCar only in the US, Canada, the UK, Austria and Spain and a stock dropping faster than the temperature in the northeast, what does Avis really see between the lines here?
Is Avis simply looking for customer acquisition growth from the current ZipCar user base of 750,000+ users worldwide?
Are they looking to convert these users into eventual renters down the road?
Will Avis ramp up ZipCar's fleet from their own inventory?
Are they looking to try and sell their vehicles directly to them?
Regardless of their intentions, there are a couple of issues automotive retailers should be aware of:
More alternatives for younger drivers to access vehicles by keeping them loyal to the Avis brand
The concept of ownership is a major factor with younger consumer - ZipCar and Avis could make the process of gaining access to vehicles much easier
Is this a signal for greater ripples within the retail automotive segment? If anything, this should be a sign for automotive marketers to start selling their overall experience, pain-free shopping and ease of ownership to this portion of the car buying population.
What do you think, is this the start of a new trend or is this a non-event?