Pay-as-you-go car company City Car Club has bought WhizzGo to create the UK’s largest national network of hourly rental cars.
City Car Club has now extended its reach to 15 UK cities with 500 cars and over 16,000 members. The purchase of WhizzGo marks the first major consolidation within the UK car club market and the new combined company now has operations in London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, York, Edinburgh, Brighton, Bristol, Bath, Huddersfield, Norwich, Birmingham, and Southampton with more in the pipeline.
The car club aims to offer a cost effective and greener alternative to car ownership. Members can hire cars for as little as £3.96 per hour and each booking comes with 50 miles free petrol per day. Membership costs £50 per year for residential members and £30 for business members.
The number of new members has increased during the recession as motorists opt to rent rather than buy. As a result, City Car Club saw an 80% expansion in its membership base in 2008 and a further 55% growth in the first half of 2009.
WhizzGo’s fleet will now be re-branded as City Car Club and current WhizzGo members will immediately transfer to City Car Club’s technology platform.
Members can book the cars at a moment’s notice on the internet, over the telephone or even at the car itself. Cars are parked in designated parking bays and, once a booking is made, members gain access with their smart enabled, personal membership card (totally keyless access). Once in the car, members enter their PIN into the on-board computer. Journeys are itemised and sent out on a monthly statement.
Commenting on the deal City Car Club CEO James Finlayson said: “We are delighted to have made this strategic acquisition. Both businesses complement each other extremely well and will allow our current and future members to have access to our cars in most major UK cities.”
He added: “We were keen to acquire WhizzGo’s locations in key cities in the north of England which will now enlarge our base for future expansion and this dovetails perfectly with our strategy of growing our network both outside, as well as inside, of London. Our enlarged network will be able to deliver new member benefits and accelerated growth to the burgeoning car-sharing industry”
The deal also allows City Car Club to expand their corporate membership base, a key growth area identified by the business. Finlayson added: “WhizzGo has been very successful at achieving a richer mix of corporate members, allowing them to maximise utilisation of cars. This is an area we are keen to develop further across the combined business and this acquisition allows us to kick-start that process.”