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Zipcar to Add Ford Vehicles to Fleet

Zipcar & Ford LogosIt’s been announced that Ford is going to provide as many as 1,000 vehicles to Zipcar, the car-sharing network. The cars will be made available at over 250 colleges across the United States in an attempt to reach younger consumers who are used to driving the Nissan Versa, Mini Cooper and Toyota Prius. The deal has been agreed for two years, giving the automaker a marketing tool it hasn’t had as the car-sharing industry has grown in larger cities and college towns. This is particularly true for West and East Coast cities and towns.

The first 100,000 new university student members who sign up for the Zipcar programme will get an annual membership for $25 rather than $35. However, they will also get $1 off the hourly rate during the first 1 million hours that they hire Ford vehicles at select universities and colleges. The new cars are due to arrive on campuses this week, including the 2012 Ford Focus.

More than 250 universities and colleges have established partnerships with Zipcar in North America – like George Washington University, Florida State University, University of California-Berkeley, Stanford University, University of Chicago, Michigan State University, Yale University, Harvard University, Columbia College, University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount University, University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University and University of Michigan. This comes as car-sharing schemes have increased in popularity among students.

The US Department of Transportation has reported a 19% decline in drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 from 1978 and 2008. A study ordered by Zipcar last year found that half of all motorists between the ages of 18 and 34 are driving less, while almost two-thirds will drive less if they have alternative transport options available.

Speaking about the deal, Ford executive chairman Bill Ford said that students today think about driving and transport differently than previous generations. This car-sharing scheme allows new drivers to experience the latest fuel-efficient cars, while helping to reduce their cost of living and ease congestion on campus. They are looking forward to making the company a staple of the college experience, he added.

Zipcar chairman and chief executive Scott Griffith says the partnership will help both groups better understand college-aged drivers’ preferences. They have had Zipcars on campuses for over eight years, during which time they have learned much from the next generation of motorists. They are targeting a generation that knows how to purchase music by buying individual songs, so it’s natural for them to pay for a hired car by the hour. Thousands of people have developed different views on vehicles with convenience and access as top priorities. Students are smart customers who appreciate the company’s “wheels when you want them” strategy, he added.




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