For Two, No More: Mercedes-Benz Delves Further Into 'Mobility' With Car2Go Sharing Service
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.
“At Mercedes-Benz we see the four key pillars for future mobility as connectivity, autonomous driving, car sharing and electrification,” said Dieter Zetsche, Daimler CEO, in an official statement. “Today we take another step toward that future by adding the new Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA to Car2Go’s North American fleet.”
Portland, Austin, Seattle and Washington DC will see the initial launch of Mercedes-badged vehicles become available immediately, with Vancouver and Toronto getting CLAs and GLAs early on in February.
Speaking to Automotive News, Car2Go’s Mike Silverman said that the number of new Mercedes vehicles utilized by the service should be in the thousands by the end of the year, as the company updates its fleet for most major cities within North America. When the company began offering ride sharing in 2009, the fleet was comprised entirely of Smart Fortwos. It’s Car2Go’s intent to replace the majority of its aging vehicles with new Benz compacts. While new and old Smarts will continue to use the absolutely embarrassing to be seen in blue-and-white paint scheme, the Mercedes units will look like every other German car on the road. Specifically, they’ll be grayscale — painted either black, white, or silver.
Every GLA will feature all-wheel drive, as will the CLAs (if you pick one up in Canada). Like the eyesore Fortwos, the new cars can also be reserved, located, and unlocked using the Car2Go app. The company pays for the insurance, fuel, and maintenance itself. Users are required to return the vehicle to any legal parking space within a city’s home area.
At the moment, Car2Go members pay 41 cents per minute, $14.99 per hour, or $84.99 per day to access a vehicle. Silverman told AutoNews that the fee for the CLAs and GLAs will be a few cents more per minute, which would still fall inside the typical rates of most urban car-sharing services, if not slightly above.
Car2Go was also keen to notify U.S. members potentially interested in buying or leasing a new Smart or Mercedes-Benz vehicle that they are eligible for a $500 to $4,500 discount. However, if you’re making regular use of a ride sharing-service, why the hell would you be interested in a brand new automobile? Here’s some consumer advice: consider putting the app on your mobile device for the weekend and see how many thousand you can get knocked off an AMG C63 S before deleting it.
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A note to Mr. Posky: Car2go's main competitor is ReachNow, not Zipcar. ReachNow offers pay-per-minute car sharing with a fleet of BMW and MINI vehicles, for the same price. Car2go is merely upgrading their fleet to stay competitive.