CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zipcar, Inc., the world's leading car sharing service, today announced an agreement with Catalunya Carsharing S.A., known as Avancar, to extend Zipcar's option to increase ownership to a majority holding through December 31, 2011. In addition, Zipcar provided a monetary loan to Avancar, which is convertible into equity if Zipcar chooses to exercise the option. This agreement is an extension of Zipcar's initial equity investment for a minority ownership stake in Avancar, which took place in December 2009.
"In addition to our recent acquisition of Streetcar, the leading car sharing service in the United Kingdom, the extension of our option with Avancar positions us to expand our international reach and provides us with increased access to key strategic global markets," said Scott Griffith, Chairman and CEO of Zipcar. "Just like we've seen in North America, in this difficult global economy urban dwellers in Europe are looking for smart ways to save money. Our goal is to bring the economic and environmental benefits of car sharing to more and more Europeans - in fact independent market research firm Frost and Sullivan estimates over 5 million potential car sharing consumers in Europe. We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the largest car sharing service in Spain, and further increase awareness of the benefits of car sharing throughout Spain and the rest of Europe."
Zipcar is the world's leading car-sharing service with more than 500,000 members and 8,000 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car. More information is available at www.zipcar.com.
Avancar Carsharing was the first car sharing operator in Spain, and has been offering cars per hour or per day in Barcelona and its metropolitan area since 2005. The company operates a fleet of more than 120 vehicles in 42 locations throughout the cities of Barcelona, Sant Cugat, Sabadell and Granollers. The service is available 365 days per year, 24 hours a day. Reservations can be made online or by telephone, up to five minutes before the start of one's trip. More information is available at www.avancar.es.
Launched in April 2004, Streetcar has become an increasingly popular alternative to car ownership in the UK. The service has a presence in more than 1,200 locations across 10 cities, including London, Brighton, Cambridge, Southampton, Guildford, Maidstone, Oxford and Bristol. Streetcar's range of vehicles cater for every type of journey, be it business or pleasure. More information is available at www.streetcar.co.uk.
Zipcar and the Zipcar logo and Streetcar and the Streetcar logo are trademarks of Zipcar, Inc.