Automakers, both domestic and come-from-away, all want you to do the next best thing if your meager funds aren’t enough to get you into a showroom: borrow a car.
Ride-sharing services provide mainly urban dwellers with the car they so desperately crave, without the years of payments or need to find permanent parking. And, if an automaker partners up with a service provider — or creates its own — there’s still money flowing back to the offices of Big Auto. Win-win, no?
The growing trend is hard to ignore, and it means that automakers — already new to the game — face ever greater competition, even from unlikely sources. The latest company to offer a ride-sharing service isn’t a manufacturer at all. It’s the American Automobile Association. (Read More…)
Uber’s president Jeff Jones is quitting the car-hailing business after a brief six-month stretch.
Jones’ choice of a swift departure is essentially down to the company’s controversy laden decisions and apparent degenerate corporate culture. In addition to allegations of widespread sexual harassment, Uber has managed to routinely anger local governments by ignoring autonomous testing laws and by employing algorithms that denied service to potential investigators, regulators, or law enforcement officials. It’s also been accused of property theft, and CEO Travis Kalanick is exhibiting behavior unlikely to win people over.
It’s a real shit show.
Daimler AG’s Car2Go has been a great way for the company to dump Smart Fortwos on urban areas and turn a profit while the itty-bitty city car’s popularity wanes. However, with only the single small offering, Car2Go is the only vehicle-sharing service that forces subscribers to decide which of their two children will have to be left behind to fend for themselves every time they take a trip somewhere.
In response, Mercedes-Benz is providing its CLA and GLA to C2G’s North American fleet — reuniting families, allowing a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single run, and making its service substantially more competitive with rival ZipCar. (Read More…)
A great philosopher once said that you can’t start a fire without a spark, followed by something about rhythmic movements in unlit spaces.
Well, if there’s a war brewing against autonomous technology and self-driving vehicles, the flashpoint might have occurred in New York — City and State — last week. A large trade group and labor union joined forces in denouncing the driverless scourge headed their way, with one of the groups angling for a 50-year-ban on the automotive heathens. (Read More…)
Bitter rivals Daimler AG and BMW are planning to combine their car-sharing services —Car2Go and DriveNow — to compete with North America’s Uber car service. The two must be desperate to make headway into the world of vehicle ownership alternatives if they are willing to cooperate on the project.
BMW famously avoided a Daimler-Benz takeover in 1959 by convincing nearly every employee to invest back into the company, thus avoiding both bankruptcy and being forced to join with their main competitor. More recently, Daimler offered BMW employees free admission to the Mercedes-Benz Museum for BMW’s 100th birthday, where they could learn “the complete history of the automobile.” (Read More…)
There are some absolutely terrible people in this world who are fools for prestige, suckers for any shiny bauble or deplorable frippery that might permit them the despicable foppery of believing themselves to be somehow better than their fellow men for the least justifiable of reasons.
I am one of those terrible people. I wear Kiton suits even though I am so breathtakingly ugly that no manner of haute couture can make any possible difference. I have a “Black Series” toothbrush. When I saw a fellow racer who happened to be a hugely wealthy fellow from Hong Kong pull out an “Infinite” series Visa card to lay down next to my “Signature” series Visa, I did not rest until I was also in possession of an “Infinite” Visa that was stamped from actual metal instead of merely molded out of plastic. When my plans to acquire a European noble title from some down-and-out distant relatives around the turn of the century foundered, I actually purchased a barony from a (very small, not quite legitimate) country.
There is no activity or purchase too ridiculous for me to undertake in the name of perceived prestige. Or so I thought … until the day I paid $78 dollars to ride in an Uber Select.
My wife and I visited the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago. Our plan was open-ended and started with a one-way ticket to Oakland and two nights at the Westin in Union Square. Since parking in San Francisco is expensive, we decided to forgo renting a car at the airport and took an Uber into the city.
After exploring the city for a bit, we decided to head up north and visit some wineries. One of the more convenient options to rent a car for the day is the new Audi On Demand service, so we picked up an A4 and headed north.
General Motors claims Chevrolet dealers will see some Bolts arrive before the end of the year, but it’s now clear who gets the 238-mile electric vehicle first.
The first Bolts to roll out of the Orion Assembly plant will go to drivers working for Lyft, the Detroit Free Press reports. (Read More…)
Yoyo believes, like other mobility disruptors, that the traditional automobile acquisition and ownership experience is broken. It maintains that the majority of consumers can be provided with more flexible, efficient, lower-cost alternatives to the incumbent model of personal mobility. However, the prevailing two-step distribution system is entrenched and the insurance, maintenance, parking, and other segments of the $2 trillion extended auto industry are not incentivized to embrace change.
Will Yoyo’s pay-per-mile subscription model participate in disrupting the calcified status quo? (Read More…)
Volvo is partnering with ride-hailing service Uber, a $300 million deal expected to spawn a fleet of self-driving vehicles on U.S. roads.
Both companies plan to develop their own autonomous technology using a Volvo “base” vehicle, but Pittsburgh will see a crop of self-driving Swedes by the end of the year, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)
Uber claims it conducts lengthy background checks for all of its would-be drivers, but an investigation conducted in the wake of an alleged Boston-area rape says otherwise.
Darnell Booth, 34, of Dorchester, Massachusetts stands accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while working for the company. The crime, allegedly committed in early July, gives anti-Uber foes another weapon, and calls the company’s vetting process into question. (Read More…)
Automakers are turning up the wick on drive-sharing investments and slowly transitioning from car manufacturing to providing mobility. That’s likely a good bet, too, considering a recent report from McKinsey Global Institute.
The report, titled “Poorer than their parents? A new perspective on income inequality,” is a stark reminder that the economic situation isn’t as good as it was 10 years ago, let alone compared to the highs of the postwar West.
For starters, 65 or 70 percent of households in the advanced nations studied were “in income segments whose incomes in 2014 were flat or down compared with 2005,” states the report. The United States is one of the countries pulling up that average with 80-percent of households in income segments either flat or falling.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne could be on the cusp of a new (corporate) romance.
The automaker is talking with ride-sharing megaprovider Uber about join forces on a self-driving vehicle venture, according to Automotive News. Sources close to the matter say those talks are in the early phase, but a agreement could be announced before the end of the year. (Read More…)
Not wanting to be left out of the mobility party, Toyota and Volkswagen recently invested in two ride-sharing companies, becoming the latest automakers to sink cash into the sharing economy.
Toyota invested a rumored $100 million in the ubiquitous ride-sharing company Uber, while Volkswagen, which has to meter out its dough carefully (thanks to a pesky little scandal), dropped $300 million on Uber’s taxi-hailing rival Gett. (Read More…)
“Clean up the place when you’re done with it, and don’t even think of offering ‘hourly rates’ while you have it. This is a respectable car.”
Adds like this could start popping up from new Mini owners if the quirky automaker has its way, Automotive News Europe reports.
Mini plans to offer devices on its models that allow the owner to rent out their vehicle to other drivers, providing some cash for themselves and a Mini experience for non-owners.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW Group executive in charge of Mini, seems very excited about the technology, telling Automotive News that the system will be “kind of like Airbnb on wheels.” (Read More…)