Advertisement

'Car-sharing companies still have to work hard to convince the masses'

After a disappointing experience with a car-sharing app, Steve Fowler explains that they have a long way to convince the public

OPINION Car Sharing

Car-sharing is nothing new – we’ve long been able to rent cars. But with ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Sharing) a car industry buzz phrase, it’s become a sector that’s gripped by start-up fever. Plenty of new companies are claiming to be the next big thing, some already backed by big names, while car makers are looking hard to see if it’s an opportunity or a threat.

Advertisement - Article continues below

So when I was on holiday in the US recently and needed a car for a few days, I thought I’d look around at the options. One new one, Turo, looked great. Put simply, it’s like Airbnb for cars; owners advertise their cars for hire, they’re rated, the renters are rated and it’s all managed through Turo’s digital platform. Great.

• Ultimate guide to car sharing, car clubs and ride-sharing

So why didn’t I use it? I found what looked like an ideal car: a Nissan Rogue (similar to an X-Trail) nearby and with great ratings for the owner. But what was advertised at a tempting $49 a day turned into much more when Turo’s ‘trip fee’ (to run the platform) and insurance were added. Not especially transparent.

It turned out cheaper to hire a car from traditional renter Budget, where I was upgraded from a small saloon to an SUV! But that’s where the good news ended.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The car was so dirty I could’ve written my name along the side, it had scratches front and rear, it stunk of cigarette smoke, the tyre pressure warning flashed to tell me one tyre was under inflated, some joker had put the driver’s headrest in back-to-front and when I returned it they tried to charge me for fuel when I’d just filled up! What was Budget’s response? They didn’t bother replying.

I assume the likes of Budget will want to embrace the car-sharing future (I can’t tell because they didn’t answer my questions), but my experience highlights what’s crucial for consumers: make car-sharing simple, convenient, a great experience, risk-free and with transparent pricing. Is that too difficult? Let’s hope these newcomers make the car-sharing market as exciting and enticing as it should be.

Do you agree with Steve about car sharing schemes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/news/352004/advice-around-what-we-should-do-during-and-after-we-drive-our-cars-less-clear
News

'The advice around what we should do before, during and after we drive our cars is less than clear'

Only essential driving during the Coronavirus lockdown is allowed, but what we need to do before, during and after our journey isn't as clear, says Mi…
5 Apr 2020
Visit/news/351989/its-car-care-week-so-head-outside-and-show-your-motor-little-love
News

‘It’s Car Care Week, so head outside and show your motor a little love’

If you can’t drive your car, editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks you should wash it instead. When you're done, send us a pic and we’ll print the best
1 Apr 2020
Visit/news/351950/global-temporary-shutdown-car-factories-could-actually-benefit-manufacturers-and
News

'The temporary shutdown of car factories could benefit manufacturers and customers'

With car factories around the world closing temporarily, it may give manufacturers the chance to clear out the current backlog of unsold new cars, say…
28 Mar 2020
Visit/news/351936/jlrs-very-british-approach-keep-calm-and-carry
News

‘JLR’s very British approach: keep calm and carry on’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler praises Jaguar Land Rover on both its ability to handle a crisis
26 Mar 2020

Most Popular

Visit/mazda/mx-5/352010/new-mazda-mx-5-2020-review
Mazda MX-5

New Mazda MX-5 2020 review

The popular Mazda MX-5 has been updated for 2020, but with the changes comes a jump in price
5 Apr 2020
Visit/seat/leon/351998/new-seat-leon-2020-review
SEAT Leon

New SEAT Leon 2020 review

The all-new SEAT Leon hatchback impresses with its blend of sporty handling and cutting-edge technology
3 Apr 2020
Visit/car-group-tests/352006/kia-soul-ev-vs-mg-zs-ev
Car group tests

Kia Soul EV vs MG ZS EV

The second-generation Kia Soul EV faces the value-for-money MG ZS EV in an SUV shootout
4 Apr 2020