Tracey Zhen. Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Zipcar, the world's largest car-sharing network, is preparing for the day that consumers don't have to walk to find their shared rental car, but instead it comes to find them.
The big picture: Zipcar is the original auto-industry disruptor, giving customers on-demand access to vehicles as a viable alternative to car ownership. But the 19-year-old company faces competition from new mobility services including peer-to-peer car-sharing networks like Turo — and even driverless taxis some day.
But it has 3 advantages the newcomers lack, Zipcar president Tracey Zhen tells me:
- Years of experience with fleet management. Zipcar knows how to match supply and demand, and can quickly reposition cars where they're needed.
- Strong customer loyalty through its subscription-based model. Rivals need to find, acquire and keep new customers.
- Trusted partnerships with city leaders. Transportation is a local issue, so collaboration is important.
Why it matters: All that experience will be important in an AV world, she says. The vehicle use cases won't change, even if there's no one behind the wheel.