Enterprise Holdings has announced that it is acquiring the business of IGO CarSharing, a non-profit organization serving more than 15,000 members, with more than 200 locations in more than 40 neighborhoods.
Established in 2002 as a pilot program of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, IGO was the first car-sharing program in Chicago and has been dedicated to creating an integrated multimodal transportation system for more than a decade.
The acquisition closed May 28; financial terms of the transaction will not be disclosed. Enterprise Holdings, the most comprehensive service provider in the car rental industry, operates the flagship Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand as well as the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. The company also offers Enterprise CarShare with a suite of products and policies specifically geared to the car-sharing customer experience.
“We have great respect for what IGO has accomplished not only in Chicago but in the car-sharing arena overall,” said Ryan Johnson, assistant vice president of Enterprise CarShare. “And we are excited to leverage our local Chicagoland operations to make the IGO program even stronger. Our partnership marks a great opportunity to reinforce car-sharing best practices with the world’s largest local car-rental and car-sharing network.”
IGO’s services will continue to be offered under its current name as part of the Enterprise CarShare network, while Sharon Feigon, IGO’s chief executive officer, and her team help manage Enterprise’s newest car-sharing division and further enhance its local commitment. “The purchase of IGO by the nation’s largest car rental corporation validates our success in building a robust car-sharing market through the design of innovative alternative transportation solutions that encourage people to consider both their quality of life, as well as fiscal savings through car sharing, walking, biking and use of public transportation,” said Feigon.
“IGO’s influence on both a national and local level has demonstrated how the power of a good idea, one that allows people to do good while doing well, can transform the very nature of how people make daily decisions – specifically in this case how they can benefit from a combination of public and private transportation,” Feigon added.
Feigon and her team will work closely not only with Johnson but also with Jeff Wilder, vice president and general manager, overseeing Enterprise’s Chicago group operations. Enterprise is known for taking its time with acquisitions – including Mint Cars On-Demand in Boston and New York and PhillyCarShare – and for ensuring that integrations take critical operational, financial and personnel issues into account. All of IGO’s current staff members have been offered positions.
“We’re proud to have introduced car sharing to Chicago, and Chicagoans to car sharing,” said Kathryn Tholin, chief executive officer for the Center for Neighborhood Technology. “IGO was started in an effort to provide economical, environmentally sound transportation choices, reduce car ownership rates, lower family transportation costs, decrease urban congestion and improve air quality in Chicago neighborhoods. It makes perfect sense for Enterprise, which began as a neighborhood car-rental company, to place such value on car sharing today.”
Enterprise has been delivering transportation alternatives right where people live and work since 1957. Forty years later, Enterprise Rent-A-Car trademarked the term Virtual Car, after recognizing the strength and energy of local service, regardless if it is for an hour, a day, a week or longer. This intuitive neighborhood business model – an early example of today’s “collaborative consumption” trend – now features a wide variety of programs, including car rental, car leasing, vanpooling and car sharing.
Even before the 2007 launch of its first car-sharing program, Enterprise provided hourly rentals to customers in large urban markets who rely on mass transit during the week or simply cannot afford to purchase or maintain a vehicle on their own. In fact, Enterprise first launched hourly rentals in Chicago in 2005. Enterprise continues to lead the neighborhood market with both car-rental and car-sharing options, and is renowned for offering affordable, accessible and flexible service in towns and cities of all sizes.
Because car sharing is a natural extension of the local car-rental service that Enterprise pioneered, the Enterprise CarShare team is able to quickly enhance and resize car-sharing fleets based on consumer demand and community needs. Furthermore, the Enterprise team continues to aggressively look for opportunities to expand its car-sharing program on university campuses, corporate complexes and in retail spaces. In addition, Enterprise CarShare is introducing a new national marketing campaign that includes print, digital and social media as well as transit advertising and street teams.
“We understand what it takes to run a successful and sustainable car-rental operation in a highly competitive marketplace,” Johnson noted. “With Enterprise’s industry leadership and strength, IGO will be able to quickly ramp up with a newer and larger fleet while still retaining its values and personnel. This will mean even greater levels of customer satisfaction in terms of accessibility, pricing and vehicle options.”
Enterprise currently operates almost twice as many locations as its nearest U.S. competitor, with more than 5,500 offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.
“That means acquisitions like PhillyCarShare, Mint and now IGO are fully aligned with our grassroots legacy, sense of community and leadership role in serving as a sustainable transportation provider,” Johnson stated.