DEARBORN, Mich. and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and Zipcar, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIP) – the world’s leading car-sharing network – announced a new strategic alliance establishing Ford as Zipcar’s largest university vehicle partner, reaching students at more than 250 U.S. campuses.
The first-of-its-kind, two-year tie-up introduces a new generation of drivers to Ford vehicles with the highly fuel-efficient Focus and Escape now part of Zipcar’s existing fleet of environmentally friendly, reliable and fun vehicles. Zipcar will add up to 650 Fords to its lineup during this academic year and up to 1,000 Ford vehicles during the life of the agreement.
“Today’s students are thinking differently about driving and transportation than they have in the past,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “This program enables today’s new drivers to experience our latest fuel-efficient vehicles, while helping them reduce their cost of living and help relieve congestion on campus. We’re looking forward to making Ford a staple of their college experience.”
Thanks to Ford, Zipcar will offer $10 off the $35 annual membership fee for the first 100,000 new University members who sign up for Zipcar, plus $1 off the hourly rate for the first 1 million hours of use on any of the new Ford vehicles at select colleges and universities.
New Ford vehicles start arriving on campuses this week. The program, which could generate 2 million hours behind the wheel of Ford vehicles for college-age drivers, also helps reduce parking demand, congestion and emissions.
The new generation of Ford vehicles, especially the all-new Ford Focus, is a good match for Zipcar’s environmentally minded student members who demand high fuel efficiency and value performance and style balanced with reliability and utility.
The stylish new Focus delivers 40 mpg on the highway plus leading new technologies such as Ford SYNC® – all important attributes to today’s smart, environmentally minded college students.
Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO, Zipcar, says the alliance will help Ford and Zipcar prepare the next generation of drivers for the future of urban transportation while helping the companies better understand the unique preferences of the college-age segment of the driving population.
“We’ve had Zipcars on campuses for more than eight years and as a result we’ve learned a lot from the next generation of drivers. We’re targeting a generation that only knows how to buy music by the song so paying for a car by the hour is a natural for them. Students are smart consumers who appreciate Zipcar’s ‘Wheels when you want them’ approach,” said Griffith. “We believe this alliance will drive home the value of using Zipcar and the fun of driving a Ford when students need a ride. With reduced membership fees and hourly rates sponsored by Ford, they can save even more money on sustainable transportation, without sacrificing the freedom – and fun – of having a car on campus.”
Zipcar has established partnerships with more than 250 universities throughout North America, including Harvard University, Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of California – Berkeley, Loyola Marymount University, Florida State University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and George Washington University, among others.
Affordable, fun and sustainable transportation for U.S. university students
Zipcar provides an affordable and convenient transportation solution for college students living on campus with all-inclusive rates that cover parking, gas, insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance.
While Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of vehicles to its members, final vehicle selections for its fleet are heavily scrutinized. Members weigh in on brand preferences through annual surveys, and Zipcar reviews total cost of ownership for each new model. Leading technology and fuel economy in the Ford Focus and Escape were persuasive factors in selecting Ford for this collaboration.
Car-sharing programs such as Zipcar are increasingly becoming students’ first experiences behind the wheel. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 declined by 19 percent from 1978 to 2008.
According to an independent study commissioned by Zipcar in 2010, almost half of all 18- to 34-year-old drivers are driving less, and nearly two-thirds would drive less if alternative transportation options were available.
The study of licensed drivers revealed that 45 percent of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) said they had consciously made an effort to reduce how much they drive, and 64 percent would drive less if alternative options including public transportation, car sharing or convenient carpooling (ride sharing) were available in their area.
“Millennials appear to have developed a very different view of the automobile. Access and convenience are their top priorities, meaning that Zipcar and its alliances with companies such as Ford can deliver what they want easily, affordably and with the technology and sustainability they truly value,” said Griffith.