Market News

 April 21, 2010
Zipcar snaps up Streetcar to create car club powerhouse

 Car club firm Zipcar has acquired Streetcar in a deal that is likely to significantly bolster the appeal of the car club model in the UK and could act as a springboard for the firm's planned expansion across Europe.

The company today announced that it has acquired its London-based rival for an undisclosed sum, adding more than 1,100 car club pick-up sites to its UK network in the process.

US-based Zipcar said the expanded company will ultimately ditch the Streetcar name and operate under the Zipcar brand, although Streetcar founders and executives Andrew Valentine and Brett Akker will retain senior positions with the firm.

Scott Griffith, chairman and chief executive of Zipcar, said the deal would make it easier for both firms' customers to access car club vehicles at any time.

"In the near term, the more than 400,000 members of both companies will benefit from more cars, more convenience and enhanced technology," he said. "In the longer term, when considered along with our investment in the largest car sharing company in Spain in late 2009, this transaction gives us a very strong base from which to expand to additional European markets."

The merger extends the geographical reach of both companies, allowing Streetcar customers to access cars in the US, while giving Zipcar members access to Streetcar's UK network, including cars in Brighton, Cambridge, Southampton, Guildford, Maidstone, Oxford and Bristol.

Zipcar said the deal will also help it expand its fleet of hybrid and green vehicles, further enhancing the environmental credentials of a car club model that is designed to lead to reduced levels of car ownership.

The expansion to Zipcar's fleet is likely to provide a significant boost to its car club service, which is reliant on vehicles being available to customers at short notice and in a large number of locations.

Zipcar was unavailable to comment on the deal at the time of going to press.