Daimler’s Smart car rentals are pulling customers away from Mazda, Fiat

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 20, 2010

Rentals being offered by Daimler AG, which makes the Smart city car, are quickly rising and have been seen to take away many of the customers from Mazda Motor Corp. and Fiat S.p.A. Apparently, there are many drivers who are prepared to give up auto ownership and go for a rental instead. Sam Eder, a resident of Austin, Texas, had sold his Mazda Miata last June after signing up with Daimler.

In an interview, Eder said that he doesn’t miss his car at all. Robert Henrich, the unit's chief, said that in early 2011, Daimler's Car2go service will add Hamburg. There are negotiations to add “dozens” more cities in Europe and North America.

Already, the Car2go service rents Smart cars in Austin and the German town of Ulm. A Frost & Sullivan study found that Daimler is up against Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and Zipcar Inc. as they all attempt to raise their share in this industry that’s expected to increase 12-fold to $7 billion in revenue in Europe and North America by 2016.

This growth is attributed to a change in the attitude of people in their 20s and 30s who consider car ownership to be a financial drag and not as a means to significantly lift their statuses.

This perception is a contrast to how the auto business has been seen as a whole. For instance, 25-year-old Niran Babalola, the director of technology at an Austin non- profit organization, prefers to ride his bike but uses Car2go when he doesn’t want to get sweaty or when he’s rushing. Babalola explained that his lack of a car is intended to make a social statement. [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: daimler, mazda, fiat, smart

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