HiGear model with BMW M3 convertible

HiGear was a peer-to-peer car rental service that began in San Francisco six months ago, had opened up shop in Los Angeles, and was in the process of expanding to to other West Coast cities. Specializing in luxury cars under $100,000, members offered their cars up for rental to other locals at rather excellent rates. Cars above six figures were included after being vetted by the service – members were vetted as well – and the service provided comprehensive insurance to protect owners and renters.

According to TechCrunch, that apparently didn't stop a car-theft ring from targeting HiGear and making off with four cars worth between $300,000 and $400,000. The thieves created verifiable identities and paid with stolen credit cards, bypassing all of HiGear's safeguards. So as of January 3, 2012 HiGear was forced to shut down, citing untenable costs due to the thefts.

It's a shame, since the peer-to-peer social-networking nature of the service meant that you could rent cars you'd be severely challenged to find as easily anywhere else: a 1971 Eldorado could be had for $100 a day, a 1955 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud was $300, and a 2006 Bentley Flying Spur was $400. Although this idea didn't survive, we hope this isn't the last we hear of HiGear CEO Ali Moiz.