Can Turo Beat Traditional Rentals and Become the Airbnb of Cars?

The car-sharing startup passed the billion-dollar valuation mark

Turo car-sharing CEO Andre Haddad
Turo CEO Andre Haddad owns six vehicles which he personally rents out on the car-sharing platform.
Turo
By Alex Lauer / December 3, 2019 1:22 pm

“Way better than a rental car.” That’s how Turo, a vehicle-sharing marketplace that wants to be the Airbnb of cars, describes itself on its homepage. Despite that seemingly antagonistic stance, CEO Andre Haddad told the Wall Street Journal, “We are not intending to antagonize [traditional car rental companies.]”

They don’t have to. A growing community of renters and listers, not to mention growing investment and market valuation, is turning Turo into a real competitor in the car rental space. As a new video from the Wall Street Journal shows, this newcomer is putting rental heavyweights on the attack.  

Just like Airbnb, Turo is a peer-to-peer rental company. That means car owners can list and rent their own vehicles on the platform for less than traditional car rental companies, but with Turo’s added benefits like insurance and customer support. But unlike Airbnb, Turo has been slower to grow since its launch in 2010 (when it was called RelayRides). Now it’s picking up steam, thanks in large part to a $250 million investment from IAC this summer that pushed the company past the billion-dollar valuation mark.

In the video above, the Wall Street Journal shows how the service works, both in the literal peer-to-peer sense (via a man who rents out his Polaris Slingshot) and through those who are using Turo to set up their own unofficial rental companies. The more entrepreneurial users are the ones Big Car Rental is worried about. 

Basically, Turo argues that it’s simply trying to offer car owners a way to make extra money. On the other hand, Enterprise Holdings in a statement said, “Peer-to-peer operators hope to avoid applicable taxes, plain and simple.” Of course, that may be true, but as other peer-to-peer marketplaces have shown, that may be more of a boon to Turo than an argument against it.

Plus, if you’ve got a family vacation coming up, wouldn’t you rather rent a Tesla Model X than a boring ol’ Honda CR-V? If so, Haddad has his personal SUV listed on Turo.

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