Turo, the Airbnb for cars, could shake up the rental car industry
- Turo is a person-to-person carsharing service that is best described as “Airbnb for cars”.
- I decided to give the service a try on a recent trip, renting an SUV for hundreds less than it would have cost through a rental company like Hertz or Enterprise.
- I had a generally pleasant experience, but signing up was frustrating and ended up with a lot of questions about what happens if something goes wrong.
I have long been an aficionado of the sharing economy. I stay in Airbnbs or HomeAways rather than hotels, take Lyfts or Ubers rather than taxis, and hire freelance through TaskRabbit. I’m something of a millennial cliché.
But I’ve never rented a car through Turo, a person-to-person carsharing service that’s more easily described as Airbnb for cars.
Despite Turo’s easy sale to venture capitalists, it didn’t quite like Airbnb. Originally founded around the same time as RelayRides, Turo now operates in 4,700 cities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom with 170,000 cars listed. But that may soon change.
The company announced in September that it had raised $ 92 million in additional capital, mainly from Daimler AG. The money, along with its purchase from competitor Croove, is intended to expand the platform to Europe.
I decided to put Turo to the test on a recent trip to Seattle. Here’s how it went: