AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

Audi tries out car-sharing in Europe

Audi tries out car-sharing in Europe image

Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: | posted November 25, 2014 07:22

Two experimental car-sharing pilot programs in different cities

Audi is currently testing two new premium vehicle-sharing systems in separate locations in Europe, one in Stockholm and the other in Berlin.

Called Audi Unite in Stockholm, it works just like property time-sharing by allowing three to five people own or share the lease of an Audi.  A customer first chooses a specific model, the length of contract (12 months to 24 months) or distance travelled (20,000 to 30,000 kilometers) and then downloads the Audi Unite smartphone app, which allows the user to get instant information about the vehicle.  The app sends real-time information about the Audi straight to the user’s smartphone.  You can check the status of the unit, how much fuel is left, and work out the monthly schedule with your co-owners.  The app also divvies up the monthly invoices based of how long the Audi was with each user.  An Audi Unite beacon is given to each lessee or owner and acts as their personal driver’s ID storing information about their use of the vehicle.  This system allows users access to an Audi at an affordable cost while being able to share maintenance and ownership costs with the co-owners or other lessees.

Audi Select can be found in Berlin and is a totally different program.  One customer has access to several used Audi models and can rotate use of each depending on which package is selected.  The customer has a choice of 6 months-1 Audi model, 12 months-2 Audi models or 12 months-3 Audi models.  The rate of the lease is fixed during the term and does not vary no matter which model is chosen.

"Could we maybe have three different sorts of cars - maybe an SUV in the winter, a cabriolet in the summer or a sporty car whenever I would need it? This is what we are looking for and are aiming for," said Rupert Stadler Audi AG CEO.

Audi plans to introduce a car-sharing system in two cities in the United States very soon and they will differ from the programs offered in Europe.

"The interesting dynamic, if you look at most of the research, it says that this is going to drive down sales.  That's not what ends up happening. We don't see a negative impact on sales. What we do see is an opportunity to jump into some new segments of business,” said Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America.