Innovation That Matters

Smart use of the Smart brand: car-sharing by Daimler

Mobility & Transport

Aiming to grab a share of the growing car-sharing market, Daimler created car2go, which enables customers to order and pick up a Smart car within minutes. The service was rolled out in the German city of Ulm last October, and is expected to launch in Austin, Texas sometime in early 2010. Cars can be reserved online or over the phone up to 24 hours in advance, costing a maximum of EUR 9.90 per hour or EUR 49.00 for a day. A text message informs the customer of the car’s exact location, which, in the urban area of Ulm, is usually no further than 3 minutes’ walk away. Once the driver reaches the car, he or she can unlock it with a PIN code provided during registration. As well as being simple and flexible, car2go’s use of diminutive Smart cars makes the system more environmentally friendly than most other car sharing systems. Having enticed almost 10% of Ulm’s driving population to use the scheme, we’re waiting with interest to see how car2go will fare in the US, where it faces tough competition from ZipCar. An obvious advantage for car2Go is its access to cars without having to pay a mark-up. And besides tapping into a new source of revenue, Daimler could benefit from the brand exposure of having its Smart cars in heavy rotation on city streets. (Related: Half-price parking for half-sized cars.) Spotted by: Adele Morten



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