Mar 162014

Last year car rental giant AvisBudget acquired the vehicle sharing service Zipcar, at the time it looked like the established player was buying in the tech smarts of younger startup.

Citing ‘synergies’ at the time of a takeover is always a warning sign that a corporate acquisition may not go well and so it has proved with Avis’ efforts with Zipcar as travel news site Skift reports;

Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant & Leisure Management Access Forum in Las Vegas earlier this week, AvisBudget CEO Ron Nelson said fleet-sharing has turned out to be more complicated than the company thought because there’s a cost tied to moving the vehicles from one location to another.

That’s a strange statement as a casual observer would be forgiven for thinking that if any organisation understood the costs of moving vehicles around it would be a car hire company.

Apparently that’s not the case and the ‘synergies’ from acquisition will be pushed back to 2015.

Synergies are elusive things and it may well prove that Ron Nelson would be better served by examining how Zipcar’s technology, algorithms and flat management structures can be applied to a more staid organisation like Avis.

The real value in companies like Zipcar and Uber is the way they are applying technology to moving physical goods around – it’s no surprise that Uber’s Travis Kalanick describes his ambition for the future of his company as being the Amazon for logistics.

For Avis, Zipcar’s opportunities lie in more that just enhancing the company’s fleet utilization; understanding the marketplace and predicting demand is where the real gains could be made.

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