Consumer, News, Technology

Mercedes launches new app to share your car

A new car-sharing service - Croove - has been launched by Mercedes, in Munich.

Available as an app or desktop, it differs from other car sharing schemes as Croove pairs up private vehicle owners and hirers. Despite being launched by Mercedes, its open to any brand of vehicle.

Mercedes says it is ‘continually expanding its range of services’ with a focus placed more than ever on people and their requirements; resulting in the new app. Both parties stand to benefit as it offers hirers a quick and straightforward means of finding a well-maintained, safe vehicle that suits their mobility requirements, while also offering them greater flexibility than rental stations in fixed locations.

Owners who rent their vehicle, meanwhile, are able to optimise their car's rate of usage while earning some extra money at the same time.

"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.

Croove is a smartphone-based platform. The relevant app will be available to download for iPhones in December. Shortly after, an Android version will launch along with a desktop website for booking a vehicle.

Those wishing to share their car create an online profile with the details of their vehicle including any optional equipment and enter their asking price – the app helps them with this. Croove can be used for any brand of car, provided that the vehicle is in good condition and no more than 15 years old.

Hirers (minimum age 21, must hold a valid driving licence) have to register and then they can contact potential vehicle owners via the app and arrange appointments. It will be possible to either collect the vehicle in person or pay extra for a pickup and delivery service. The owner and hirer inspect the vehicle together when it is collected and returned again in order to check and document its condition. The digital rental contract provided by Croove includes a checklist for this purpose. The app is also used for cashless payment and an in-app rating can be given for both parties after a vehicle has been hired, meaning greater transparency and peace of mind.

Consideration is also being given to the idea of introducing a keyless solution in future, which would allow access via a PIN code.

Mercedes has yet to confirm if Croove will be introduced in the UK.