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Mercedes-Benz’s Croove Joins the Luxury Ride-Sharing Market

Technology By
(BMW)
(BMW)

 

Mercedes-Benz’s Croove service joins the sudden deluge of automakers investing in, or creating their own, ride-sharing services.

Croove, which is only available in Germany at the moment, is a peer-to-peer service that the company describes as “Airbnb for cars.” Mercedes-Benz owners can register their cars (provided that their cars are in good shape and younger than 15) with the service, through which registered drivers can also rent them.

Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet (Mercedes-Benz)
Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet (Mercedes-Benz)

 

Other auto brands have made similar moves recently. BMW’s ReachNow service, currently being tested in Seattle, is a car-sharing program that allows users to rent each others’ 3 Series, Mini Cooper, or i3 vehicles. GM’s Maven service targets college students with a loose imitation of Zipcar, allowing users to request Chevrolet vehicles through a smartphone app.

Cadillac’s Book by Cadillac service, meanwhile, is more of a car-swapping program. For $1,500 a month, users can swap between current year Cadillacs up to 18 times a year, without paying registration, insurance, or maintenance fees.

The new Honda NeuV concept vehicle is displayed during CES (David McNew/AFP/Getty Images)
The new Honda NeuV concept vehicle is displayed during CES (David McNew/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Honda’s NeuV, which just premiered at CES, is perhaps the boldest move yet: a vehicle designed for the ride-sharing market. Both electric and self-driving, the NeuV can potentially be programmed to drive other passengers around when its owner isn’t using it.

This trend of starting ride- and car-sharing services (or partnering with existing ones) is a reaction to the success of companies like Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar, but there’s a longterm strategy here as well. The idea is that auto manufacturers are making themselves a presence in the lives of young people, who don’t own cars yet but will be looking to buy them once they start careers and families. If they already have a positive relationship with certain manufacturers through a ride-sharing service, the odds of them buying from those manufacturers increases exponentially.

—RealClearLife Staff