For Two, No More: Mercedes-Benz Delves Further Into 'Mobility' With Car2Go Sharing Service

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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.

[Images: Car2Go]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Spike_in_Brisbane Spike_in_Brisbane on Jan 31, 2017

    This should finally convince Americans that the small Mercs are NOT luxury cars.

    • See 1 previous
    • TonyJZX TonyJZX on Feb 01, 2017

      @DeadWeight The C class of the last few generations, do have a semi premium feel. There are certain aspects that let them down, specifically the four cyl. engines and obviously some of the trim however the RWD chassis does give you 'that' feel and I reckon even the styling as a mini E or mini S works. It is a bit tight for 4 adults but it is a compact car. The CLA does not have that premium feel. You cant look at the above CLA picture and not see that there's stark problems with the design. I hesitate to blame the FWD layout because even the Japanese and Koreans have been able to engineer a premium feel in their FWD cars. An A3 sedan runs rings around the CLA in every aspect, its embarrassing.

  • Phillin_Phresh Phillin_Phresh on Jan 31, 2017

    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.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Union fees and corruption. What can go wrong?
  • Lou_BC How about one of those 2 foot wide horizontal speedometers out of the late 60's Ford Galaxie?
  • Lou_BC Was he at GM for 47 years or an engineer for 47 years?
  • Ajla The VW vote that was held today heavily favored unionization (75/25). That's a very large victory for the UAW considering such a vote has failed two other times this decade at that plant.
  • The Oracle Just advertise ICE vehicles by range instead of MPG and let the market decide.
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