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Mercedes launched its "Croove" app for peer-to-peer car renting

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【Summary】 The German auto giant Mercedes Benz recently launched its app “Croove”, to let any vehicle owner - not confined by Benz drivers, to rent their car when they’re not using it.

Original Claire    Dec 19, 2016 5:54 PM PT
Mercedes launched its

Imagine an Airbnb model of car sharing service: car owners could freely rent their vehicles out to other people just like house hosts to their guests— that could leave much flexibility to car owners and renters, and offer the former profit and the latter convenience. The seemingly win-win business has already been started by a few companies around the world.  And recently, the German auto giant Mercedes Benz launched its app "Croove", to let any vehicle owner - not confined to Benz drivers, to rent their car when they're not using it. 

The app will start its pilot in Munich, Germany, then expand to nearby German cities, as well as other car models. It's just another new move under Mercedes's strategy of "CASE"—connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric drive systems. 

"On average, a car is parked up for 23 hours a day. Why not make it earn a little money during this time? Car-sharing will be a key element of the mobility concept in tomorrow's cities," says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The newly launched Croove app, although in peer-to-peer form, sets some limitations for both renter and user. For example, the vehicle rented out must be less than 15 years old and in good condition. Plus, customers who register in the app and rent a car are required to own a driver's license and prove they're above 21. The prerequisites allow users to go through a digital checklist of the vehicle's condition (before and after pickup). Once the vehicle is returned to a designated location, the renter can leave ratings via the Croove app. After that, the car is ready for its next customer.

In terms of how a hirer collects the car, Mercedez confirmed that during the primary stage, a customer will need to pick the vehicle up in person or pay extra money for a pickup and delivery service. On a side note, the owner and hirer should inspect the car together before collecting and returning, to better document its condition and avoid potential complaints. However, in the future, the company will consider introducing a keyless solution, which would allow a hirer to collect the car using just a PIN code. 

Another thing to note is: Mercedes Benz's parent company Damiler, has long been involved in the car sharing industry. Its Car2Go business is the first and most popular car renting service in the world. The company also provides Mercedes cars to its members when customers are in need. Not long ago, its customer base broke the two million mark. 

As a peer-to-peer mobile platform, Croove is currently only available in the Apple Store. However, it will soon add an Android version in the Google Playstore; and down the line, may even come with a desktop website for vehicle bookings.

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