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Do Zipcars Have the New Rental Model?

If you are wondering about those funny looking little cars in parking lots around the city, you better go to Scott Griffith, CEO of Zip Cars. The online membership-only car rental company makes available 6,000 Mini Coopers, Priuses (Priai?), Scions, BMW three series, and other small cars to its 300,000 members for rent at $9-$10 an hour, gas and insurance included. Once a reservation is made, the company emails the car to open up for the member to drive away. You can rent a car on your PDA while standing next to it (www.zipcar.com). The entire process is untouched by human hands. The privately held company says that 14 million potential customers in the US are a ten minute walk away from their cars, and that the global market for this service is 37 million.  Zip Cars, which merged with Flexcar in 2007, sees increasing demand from economizing families looking to them for second cars. Vehicle choices are made by customers, and there has never been a request for a GM or a Chrysler.