Uber is Getting into the Car Rental Business

Photo credit: why kei/Unsplash

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First, they killed the taxi cab. Now, they’re setting their sights on rental cars.

On Thursday, Uber announced plans for a new peer-to-peer car-sharing service, Uber Carshare, meaning you can rent out your sedan while you’re at home working all day.

Hertz, Don’t It?

Uber’s been on a mission to evolve from a ride-hailing service into an all-in-one transportation app. That effort has included features like Uber Charter, a partnership with US Coachways buses, and Uber Travel, which helps users book everything from restaurant reservations to commercial flights. Now, Uber wants to help you rent a car once you arrive at your location — or help you rent out your own if you’re a homebody busy-bee or sitting on an extra vehicle or two in your personal fleet.

It’s a service the company technically first launched in Australia last year after acquiring peer-to-peer carsharing start-up Car Next Door. Now, it’s planning on expanding Uber Carshare to North America, and first in Boston and Toronto. But it’s certainly not the first company to enter the space:

  • Zipcar, acquired by rental car company Avis in 2015, essentially created the space all the way back in 2000. Turo, a carsharing startup that has been majority-owned by IAC since 2019, had 320,000 cars for rent on its platform and 2.9 million active users worldwide at the end of 2022.
  • Chief rival Lyft entered the car-rental game in 2019, though its service isn’t peer-to-peer carsharing, operating more akin to a traditional rental company with reservations made through its flagship app.

Uber says car owners can set their own daily and hourly rental rates, with fuel included in the cost. Time to monetize your old Jeep full of “lots of character.”

When in Barcelona: Uber also scored a major win across the pond on Thursday, when a top EU court struck down Barcelona’s restrictions on ride-hailing companies. How would one say “So, how long have you been driving Uber?” in Spanish?