If car sharing in the United States is a growing trend, in Europe is even more exiting as some of the most important automakers like BMW and Daimler are jumping into the business.
Daimler’s car-sharing program, car2go is already profitable in many European cities, and the German automaker predicts that their mobility businesses will generate about 1 billion euros in annual revenues starting in 2020.
Daimler pioneered the service in Ulm, Germany in October 2008 — developed by one of its internal business innovation units — test-marketing the service exclusively with Daimler employees.
As of May 2013, Car2go operates over 7,300 vehicles, which serve seven countries and 20 cities worldwide with over 375,000 customers. Starting this month, the Germans have started to offer their car2go car-sharing service in Milan, with a fleet of 450 smart fortwo vehicles; and considering the fact that Italy is the largest market in the world for smart vehicles – the business is already a success.
According to Robert Henrich, managing director of Daimler Mobility Services – at this moment Car2Go is profitable in the three major cities used to launch the program in 2009 – Hamburg, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and Vancouver, Canada.
There’s the standard per-minute charge on the rentals, and there’s no need to pay monthly fees. A customer only needs to pay a one-time subscription fee and that’s it.
On the same time, BMW is coming fast as the automaker is running a partnership with rental company Sixt and has already expanded to five major cities (Dusseldorf, Berlin, Munich, Cologne and San Francisco in the U.S.) and 1,600 cars after starting two years ago.
“You’re witnessing a tipping point in the car-sharing market. It’s becoming mainstream,” Tony Douglas, head of marketing and sales for mobility services at BMW, told Automotive News Europe.