The Whipcar.com team announced today it would be closing its operations with immediate effect. In an email sent to existing members of its car club, it apologised for closing the service with little or no warning, citing the barriers to widespread adoption of this new behaviour e.g. Peer-2-Peer or better known as collaborative consumption.
What this means for you as an existing Whipcar member:
- Beginning today, March 12th, Whipcar are no longer accepting or arranging insurance for bookings, and members will no longer be able to log-in and access their site.
- Bookings due to begin on March 12th or later and the corresponding insurance certificates have been cancelled. They say all affected drivers have been fully refunded.
- Car Owners with bookings ending in March will be paid for these bookings the week of March 18th. These owners will receive a confirmation email at the time of payment detailing the bookings they are being paid for as well as their total earnings amount. That's nice of them!
This is really unfortunate as we saw Whipcar as an innovative UK start-up, a driver for changing the way people access experiences where they don't want the burden of ownership. It was a great idea and I think there is room for this type of model to exist...but maybe it was too soon?
Speaking from experience in starting up your own business, it is extremely difficult to get over the hump and manage all the different factors that affect a start-up business. You have to wonder; was it the number of car owners it managed to attract after investing in a wide marketing push in cities like London? Was it a going concern for its auditors or the Board of Directors? Was it running out of cash? Did it have anything to do with the performance of its insurance partner, who took a similar deep dive into the business model as the founders did? Maybe all of these came together at once and it "whipped up" a perfect storm of issues for the Whipcar team to manage?
One of the things that stood out for me when I put my car on the Whipcar network was being told by my existing car insurer that they would drop me if I started using Whipcar! I was surprised by their reaction given Whipcar's proposition and claim that all driver's would be purchasing their insurance with every rental booked via Whipcar.
Anyhow, while they existed, our car club excess insurance policies supported Whipcar members and will continue to support any car sharing club concept out there. We pride ourselves in innovating within the large car rental industry and we are very bullish about our products and services, including our award winning car hire excess policies.
Our best wishes go to the Whipcar Team.