Car2go is making a significant change to its car-sharing operation in North America, which will see its fleet of short-term rental vehicles made up of mostly Mercedes-Benz vehicles by the end of this year. The company is rolling out 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLAs in cities including Austin, Portland, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, D.C. to begin with, with plans to expand to more of its North American markets throughout the year.
The Daimler-owned car2go offers mostly Smart fortwo cars currently, with a few Mercedes-Benz B-Class vehicles also available in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, a measure car2go says was actually a pilot to see if there was enough demand for this broader rollout of Mercedes-Benz model options. The news that the fleet will be made up mostly of Mercedes vehicles by the end of the year means that makeup is set to change considerably – especially given that car2go has already been rolling out new model fortwos across the U.S. and Canada.
Expansion to these four and five-door vehicles is designed to help increase the appeal of the service to families and groups living in cities, who aren’t well served by compact Smart vehicles and the B-Class, the smallest car in the Mercedes lineup. This is also the only way to access Mercedes-Benz vehicles via one-way car sharing services in North America, the company points out, which should help the service appeal to an entirely new category of user.
All the Mercedes-Benz vehicles will offer CarPlay and Android Auto, rear-view cameras, adaptive braking, blind spot assistance, SiriusXM and more. The cars will cost more to rent than the fortwo vehicles, as you might expect, but car2go points out that they’re “still quite affordable,” according to a press release. Car2go members will also get discounts on new Mercedes-Benz and Smart vehicles in 2017, which will range from between $500 and $4,500 off the final purchase price depending on model and dealer.
This could be a big step toward helping car2go become even more competitive with Zipcar and other similar services, and offer a way for Daimler to compete with other high-end alternatives to vehicle ownership like the Book pilot project by Cadillac, and Audi’s on demand short-term rental service.