PhillyCarShare in merger talks

Enterprise Rent-A-Car officials have been talking to nonprofit PhillyCarShare about a possible combination, people familiar with the talks told me.

Enterprise spokeswoman Laura T. Bryant and PhillyCarShare executive director Gerald Furgione declined to comment today on the status of discussions. 

Car share is a digitally-enabled, decentralized form of car rental that avoids using fixed offices, stationing cars in rented parking lots. It's marketed to city people who don't need to use a car every day, and employers who don't like the hassle of managing company car fleets.

Some of car share's leading players, including publicly-traded, for-profit Zipcar, whose local operation competes with PhillyCarShare, began as non-profits, but went to for-profit status when investors offered cash, hoping to cash in on the services' rapid growth, helped for-profit services buy more attractive cars and spend more on marketing.

Enterprise, like other for-profit car rental services, is trying to build its own car-sharing program, WeCar. The company is based in St. Louis.