With the popularity of ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft surging in recent years, some car manufacturers are now jumping on the bandwagon.
Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has come up with its own car-sharing service called Croove.
Launched in Munich, Germany, Croove works a little bit differently from the riding apps mentioned. In principle, it is similar to how AirBnb works. But instead of a house, it is a car that is being rented out.
This isn't the first of its kind to exist. Turo and easyCar Club in the UK are both car-sharing operators that allow car owners to rent out their unused cars to people who need them. In fact, Mercedes' parent company, Daimler, owns Car2Go, a company that provides a fleet of Mercedes cars to its members on an as-needed basis.
How Croove Works
To rent out a car in the platform, the owner needs to register the car, create a profile, and share when the car will be available for use. All types of cars can be used on the peer-to-peer platform — so even if your car isn't a Mercedes, you can still rent it out on the app as long as it is "in good condition and not more than 15 years old," according to the company.
A Croove user wanting to rent a car will need to register as well. They will also need to provide proof they are above 21 years of age and have a driver's license. Once registered, the user gets to choose what type of car to rent and drive. The app will then select from its database what rented car will be available for use during the time and duration specified by the user.
After using the car, it will be returned to its designated dropoff location. The user will then leave a rating for the experience, and the car becomes available for rent again.
Why The Company Came Up With Croove
Croove could serve as a pilot test to determine whether the car-sharing service is a worthwhile investment for the company.
Mercedes seems to be experimenting with alternative business models that could help ramp up sales. If successful, Croove could be used as a selling point for potential car buyers. The company could use the service to encourage would-be buyers that the service can help pay for the car loan and help defray the cost of car ownership.
Croove is currently available only in Munich and on iOS devices. If the app proves to be popular, the service could expand to other German cities.