Car2Go, the car-sharing service owned by Daimler, announced today that for the first time, it would be offering something other than tiny, two-seat Smart cars. The company said it was adding thousands of new Mercedes-Benz luxury CLA and GLA sedans its fleet, with the goal of having them outnumber the Smarts by the end of 2017.
The new vehicles will be rolled out in six North American cities to start out: Austin, Portland, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, DC. The goal is to make Car2Go more attractive to customers who need more space, or want to look a little cooler, than what’s afforded by the Smart cars.
“Car2Go is already the most popular carsharing service in the world,” said Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “Now it will be even more attractive to small groups of friends and families who want to conveniently travel around cities in style, safety, and comfort.”
Car2Go, which allows customers to take cars one-way inside of a set perimeter and charge by the minute, launched in 2008 as one of the first car-sharing services to be started by a major automaker. Lately, other big car companies have jumped on board the bandwagon, like BMW with ReachNow and General Motors with Maven.
The move to expand its vehicle offerings by Daimler can be seen as a direct response to BMW’s expansion of ReachNow in the US. Prior to today, Car2Go exclusively used the Smart cars, while BMW has a selection of more upscale models that includes the BMW 328xi, i3, and the Mini Cooper in both two- and four-door variants.
The announcement appears to apply exclusively to Car2Go’s North American market, where customers’ taste in vehicles tends to run larger than in Europe.