The Secret Lives of Zipcar Drivers

Emily Badger, reporting for the Atlantic Cities:

One of the most telling findings of the paper, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, is that just about everyone Bardhi and Eckhardt interviewed hopes to one day own their own car. In the meantime, they feel no sense of shared ownership over Zipcars. They aren’t particularly connected to each other and don’t want to be. And they view Zipcar itself as the enforcer that keeps other drivers from screwing them over, not as the facilitator of a community.

This is all despite Zipcar’s best efforts to build exactly that, a community.

Makes sense. Zipcar is a company. Some companies have been successful at building communities. Most haven’t. When a for-profit tries to build “community”, there’s often a whiff of insincerity that accompanies it. That the company doesn’t actually care about the community, that it’s just using it to its advantage, whether that be for marketing purposes, cost cutting, or something else.

Oh, and don’t forget Zipcars are fundamentally rental cars. Nobody gives two poops about a rental car.

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