Daimler, BMW, PSA seek profit in carsharing

When Daimler launched its first North American Car2go pilot project in partnership with the city of Austin,TX back in November 2009, it probably anticipated that the program's growth rate would be quite rapid. But this big, this fast? With 15,000-plus members already registered, the sheer size has convinced Daimler it should expand the operation.

Other automakers have taken notice of Daimler's successful carsharing program and are working on similar projects of their own. PSA Peugeot-Citroen offers a business-to-business carsharing service in France and BMW on Demand provides members with short-term access to the automaker's vehicles in Germany.

In the interest of turning a profit, automakers are keeping a watchful eye on the success of carsharing. Automotive News (sub. req.) reports that Daimler's Car2go service in Germany has actually convinced people to forego buying a Mazda or Fiat model, instead choosing to share a vehicle with others. In general, carsharing programs rarely turn a profit. However, automakers hope that by swiping sales from their competitors and enrolling members who aren't interested in buying a vehicle but are willing to pay a small fee for the use of an auto, a lucrative carsharing business will materialize.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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