WASHINGTON, -- BMW and Daimler said Wednesday they plan to exit the North American short-term car rental market and will halt Share Now operations in Montreal, New York, Seattle, Washington and Vancouver.
Share Now, formerly known as Car2Go, is part of a joint venture between the two German automakers and will end operations on Feb. 29 in the United States and Canada. It cited the "volatile state of the global mobility landscape", and "the rising infrastructure complexities facing North American transportation today and the associated costs needed to sustain operations here."
The company also said it was halting operations in three European cities, Florence, London and Brussels. It said it would focus on "our remaining European cities in which we, along with our shareholders, believe show the greatest potential for profitable growth and mobility innovation."
In October, Share Now/Car2Go ended operations in Denver, Austin, Portland, and Calgary and said they were end operations by year-end in Chicago.
It is the latest sign of financial struggles in the broader mobility market and a setback to those who view short-term car rental as a way to reduce carbon pollution and congestion, because unlike ridesharing services, the vehicles are not on the road between trips.
Car2Go had one million North American members and three million worldwide, Daimler said last year.
The service allowed consumers to rent vehicles by the minute and park them on city streets or at parking meters without charge. The service faced tough competition from ride-hailing firms such as Uber, Lyft, and electric scooters.
Share Now said Wednesday it "had remained hopeful that we would be able to come to a solution - especially these last few months - we are ultimately not in a position to commit to the level of investment necessary to make the North American market successful both in the near and long term".
In 2018, Daimler bought Europcar's remaining 25 per cent stake in Car2Go for 70 million euros (US$78 million). Earlier this year, BMW and Daimler merged their short-term car rental units Car2Go and DriveNow as well as ride-hailing, parking and charging services.
BMW's CEO, Oliver Zipse, said last month that "there are potentially 'disrupting' business models that rely on car usage rather than car ownership. But they are focused on very specific areas with high population densities to ensure high utilization rates."