In a coupe towards attracting young buyers, Nissan has made an exclusive partnership with Enterprise CarShare and its 90 university campus locations. The CarShare program is a short-term rental idea similar to other ride-and-drive car sharing systems. Low-cost car rentals for local use allow students and faculty to get around without worrying about the costs associated with ownership. Many students do not actually need their own car, Enterprise studies found, while living on or near campus and so use cars only occasionally. This means that most of the time, their vehicle sits idle and unused, often at great expense due to parking and other costs. So the company began a rental program called CarShare that focuses on university campuses. It's now spread to 90 of them around the country.
The CarShare program now uses Nissan vehicles exclusively for these on-campus rental sites. For Nissan, that's a small coupe. It means they get close and exclusive access to the industry's most sought-after demographic: the youngest of young buyers. These buyers may not be purchasing a car now, but their impressions of vehicles in their formative driving years can last their entire lives. If those impressions are good and related to a specific brand, they'll be more likely to become buying adults that are loyal to that brand.
Most likely, no matter your age, you have fond memories of your first car, first driving experience, or the first time you had a great time out with your friends in a car. You probably remember the make and perhaps even the model of that car.
Those impressions are what make for a lifetime of car love for many Americans and today, many of those impressions come from rentals as well as hand-me-downs and shared purchases. With many of today's young people eschewing a vehicle purchase for practical and financial reasons, getting to them to make a first impression is difficult for automakers. This Enterprise-Nissan deal means that Nissan will have much more access to those students then they would otherwise.
Enterprise CarShare's presence on college campuses has grown significantly in recent months. Over the past year alone, the number of Enterprise university car-sharing programs has increased by 20 percent, while university membership has increased by 10 percent.
"The Enterprise CarShare program offers a convenient way for college students, faculty and staff to enjoy an extended test drive of a wide range of Nissan vehicles and to experience 'Innovation that excites' firsthand," said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, U.S.A., Nissan North America, Inc.