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Pedestrians pass an Avis car rental office in Sydney's Kings Cross October 24, 2005.
Pedestrians pass an Avis car rental office in Sydney's Kings Cross October 24, 2005.
(WILL BURGESS/REUTERS)

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In declining car culture, Avis seeks jolt from Zipcar

The $500-million (U.S.) acquisition of Zipcar highlights two major changes in the North American economy – the decline of the car culture and the continuing replacement of employees with technology.

The North American obsession with cars has been a consistent phenomenon since Henry Ford opened his first factory. Those Americans who used to traipse to the showroom every two years, are now showing general disinterest – the average age of U.S. vehicles on the road recently hit a new record high at 11 years. Younger generations, content to meet online, are increasingly living without owning a car. Avis believes Zipcar’s business model, which creates the flexibility to rent by the hour, will be the greatest beneficiary from the trend.