Zipcar has become a popular choice for people who are looking to rent cars for just a few hours at a time. That being said, there has always been a glaring problem with the Zipcar rental program, and that is the fact that consumers have to return the Zipcar that they rent to the location where they got it. This really limits what consumers can do when they rent a Zipcar.
Zipcar has recently announced that later this year, it will be launching Zipcar ONE>WAY. This new program is going to let consumers rent a Honda Fit at one of the designated locations and drop it off at another location. Consumers will still have to drop it off at one of the guaranteed parking spaces, but at least they will not have to return it to the exact location.
This is a huge upgrade from the current model of renting cars from Zipcar. Currently, when anyone rents a car from Zipcar, they have to take it back to the same parking spot from where they picked it up, and do so within a certain time frame. If the user is even a little late bringing the car back, they are charged a $50 late fee. As a result, renting a Zipcar could actually turn a quick errand into an expensive outing. People could just budget their time, but if they run into traffic of some kind, they may end up getting back to return their car late.
This is Zipcar’s attempt to attack Car2Go, a rental company that allows users to pick up a car and drop it off at any designated space. However, Zipcar is looking to outdo Car2Go by offering people a 2015 Honda Fit to drive instead of just a Smart Fortwo.
Zipcar is a great option for not only college kids but people who are in the middle of trying to buy a new car. Up until now, however, the expensive late fees and the fact that people could not return the car anywhere have really hurt Zipcar. This new scheme should help get it back on track.
That being said, Zipcar is still turning out to be pretty pricy for people. Although it does not look like it up front, Zipcar charges people not only an hourly rate but an annual fee as well. It is understandable why they need this annual rate because their whole business model is set up for people who do not drive very often. So even when these people are not driving, Zipcar needs some way to make money. That is where the annual fee comes in.
Although the Zipcar ONE>WAY program will not get rid of late fees, it will give people a better chance of avoiding it by allowing them to return a car to any location. The question is, “Will this new program give Zipcar the boost it needs to stay relevant?”