Campaign: England’s first car-club
PR Team: Consolidated Communications
Timescale: September 1998 - May 2000
The Government issued a transport White Paper in July 1998 that
advocated the need for greater partnership between the private and
public sector in tackling growing congestion on UK roads. Edinburgh was
the first city in the UK to introduce a commercial ’car club’ scheme,
which is operated by rental firm Budget.
Avis decided that they wanted to be the first car-hire company to
establish a similar scheme in England. The idea is that it reduces the
need for second-car ownership. This applies in the case where a family
has a principal car and a second vehicle that they use to do the
school-run, the weekly food-shop etc. The scheme enables non-car owners
to use a vehicle and promotes more responsible car-usage by providing
convenient and cost-effective short-term hire. It is a potentially
useful tool to help local authorities with parking problems and is also
more environmentally friendly.
To launch England’s first car-club, CARvenience. To position Avis at the
forefront of a new development that will open up a new stream of revenue
for the future.
Strategy and Plan
It was vital to find a sympathetic local authority that was prepared to
promote and actively support community transport-based initiatives.
Once the development of a car-club scheme had been accepted at a local
authority, planning and development level both parties would have to
work hand-in-hand to raise local awareness of the scheme and its
Oxford City Council has a strong reputation for innovative transport
projects. It has always had to plan for the pressure placed on a city
that has a medieval town-centre and major traffic ’bottlenecks’.
Previous initiatives the council has introduced have been the Park and
Ride scheme and the 24-hour Oxford to London bus services, the Oxford
Tube and Citylink.
Avis approached Oxford City Council and worked closely with officers and
councillors to determine the feasibility of a car-club. The idea was met
with support from the council and an extensive liaison with the council
was conducted to co-ordinate the launch.
The proposal for the scheme was put forward to a meeting of Oxford City
Council in October 1999. Councillors announced their agreement to the
scheme later in the month.
On the 18 May this year the car club was officially launched. The event
was attended by the media and a press photocall was held. The picture
angle was to photograph the first car club member at one of the
Measurement and Evaluation
About 70 people from across the UK - including the media, town planners,
council representatives - attended the launch. There was significant
attendance and local press coverage of the scheme locally.
Media coverage included Central TV, the Oxford Channel (cable TV), the
Oxford Mail and the Oxford Courier, as well as pre-coverage in the
The CARvenience scheme was a success in convincing Oxford City Council
of the feasibility of a car-club. Every party has benefited: Avis by
being able to launch England’s first car club scheme; Oxford City
Council has promoted an innovative scheme which brings transport and
environmental benefits to its citizens and the people of Oxford.
The car club currently has a fleet of six cars and more will be
introduced as demand increases. Avis’ project manager, Nigel White says
the car club is on track to have around 150 members over the next year.