Silvercar quits airports – car rentals move to Audi dealers [Update]
Silvercar, Audi’s car rental service, is closing its airports, with the service focusing instead on pickup at the dealership. Acquired in full by the car manufacturer in 2017, Silvercar sets itself apart by offering only Audi vehicles and by offering an experience first of all on the application, with the aim of differentiating itself from other airport rental operators.
Originally, this meant one price and one type of vehicle, the Audi A4 sedan. While Silvercar’s rates weren’t necessarily cheaper than those of better-known names like Hertz and Enterprise, the promise was that you would still get the vehicle you expected with perks like the WiFi hotspot service included in the price. the vehicle.
Since then, Silvercar has expanded its range, addition of SUV like the Q5 and Q7 for those who need more space or more seats, and the A5 Cabriolet for drivers seeking sun. It has also started to open concessions beyond its main airport presence. From now on, this is the aspect of the business that Audi will focus on.
From December 6, Silvercar will start closing its airports and using dealerships exclusively. In the process, it will tilt its terrain from transportation for those on a trip, to people just looking for a vehicle for local use. Reflecting the increase in social distancing and the decrease in travel in general, cars and SUVs will be reserved through the Silvercar app and can be collected completely without contact, from a secure car park at dealerships.
Alternatively, Silvercar will offer contactless delivery, with the Audi brought to your location. Same-day service is available, according to the company, and it will follow CDC guidelines on cleaning cars between loans.
It may be a no-surprise decision for Silvercar and Audi. While launching a more premium lending experience has always been tempting, it struggled to compete with established car rental services that were able to offer much cheaper rates. That, combined with the cost of locations at the airport which meant that many Silvercar facilities required some sort of transportation to offsite pickup, and the decrease in air travel during the pandemic, presumably made the model current even less durable.
Currently, Silvercar is active at approximately 20 dealers in the United States, although there are still many states where the service is not accessible.
However, the change in focus allows Silvercar to expand its offer. While short-term loans are still on the cards, Audi is also offering the service as a way to close leases and bridge the gap between traditional car ownership.
Update: Forrest Bloede of Silvercar, brand marketing director, made the following statement to SlashGear:
“In September, Silvercar by Audi announced its expansion to Audi dealerships across the United States. In full commitment to this expansion, all airports will close by December 6. at local branches, if applicable, in addition to a $ 50 voucher for future local rental.
This shift in strategy from airport leasing to local leasing represents a larger initiative by Silvercar to create an on-demand network of Audi vehicles in urban centers, specifically targeting customers looking for fuel options. flexible rentals, including daily, weekly or monthly. By the end of 2020, Silvercar by Audi will be available in more than 25 dealerships and several new locations are expected to be rolled out each month in 2021. ”