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Car-sharing companies Zipcar and Flexcar have decided to merge, the two said today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the new company will have a fleet of over 5,000 with 180,000 subscribers in 48 cities, The Seattle Times reports, the largest fleet in the growing car-sharing business.
The new company will keep Zipcar’s name and Cambridge, Mass., headquarters. Zipcar is roughly three times the size of Flexcar, but there is little geographic overlap between the two.
Update: CEO Scott Griffith said during a conference call that Zipcar aims to be a global presence in 50 cities worldwide in the coming years; he pegged the market potential at 2 million users in the U.S. and 7 million worldwide. Former Flexcar CEO Mark Norman, who will be COO of the newly formed company, noted that the merger will yield a larger fleet of hybrid vehicles as well. The new Zipcar will have over 1,000 hybrids, he said, the regional availability of which will be adjusted based on member preferences.
Neither privately owned company, both of which were founded in 1999, has posted profits. Executives of both companies hope that the new company will be in the black within a year. “This merger will be a classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts,” Zipcar CEO said Scott Griffith said in a statement.
Between climbing fuel costs, urban congestion, and growing consumer awareness of climate change, car-sharing programs have been a growing, offering consumers an alternative to ownership.