The proliferating varieties of automotive sharing are catching up to the 31 flavors at ice cream maker Baskin-Robbins. The latest is Daimler's (DDAIF) "Croove" app, which allows an owner to rent his car to someone else for a price and length of time that the two determine.
The service began in Munich this month. While Croove's monetary benefit to Daimler seems obscure, it could provide valuable market research for similar services using the German automaker's own vehicles, such as Car2go, which is owned through the Daimler's Moovel subsidiary.
Daimler is the maker of Mercedes-Benz and Smart branded vehicles.
One thing for sure is that the names for these services are getting pretty weird, at least to the ears of those of a certain age accustomed to hearing about cars one buys from Chevrolet, BMW and Toyota (TM) . The point is that automakers, having watched the growth of Uber and its competitors, are growing more convinced that the young increasingly will choose to pay for rides and short-term rentals rather than to own cars.
But which cars will this new class of customer prefer? How much are they willing to pay? Which cities are most eager to cooperate with commercial sharing ventures? The potential for reducing congestion, pollution and the need for parking structures is great. Yet BMW decided in late 2015 to pull its DriveNow ride-sharing venture from San Francisco due to difficulties gaining parking permits from the city.