Much like Airbnb, Turo allows car owners to rent their vehicles to others. But now the company is emphasizing the luxury end of the market with Rolls-Royce and Tesla models, among others — as well as classic cars.
And a key part of the rental experience is meeting another automobile aficionado.
“Turo’s mission is to put the world’s one billion cars to better use,” said Andre Haddad, the firm’s chief executive officer. “We believe we can create significant economic value by enabling car owners to share their underutilized car when it is idle.”
While the company sees a majority of Toyota, BMW and Jeep Wrangler vehicles being rented, it has an eclectic assortment of specialty vehicles to rent — and at a relatively low cost. For example, a 2016 Maserati Ghibli can be rented for $115 a day while a 2013 Tesla Model S is available for $179 a day. Cars are required to be returned to owners fueled and/or charged up.
There are also classic muscle cars for rent, which might appeal to the seemingly nostalgic Millennial set, such as a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette for $139 a day. Turo’s crown jewel, though, is a 1969 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, that is available in London for 350 pounds a day, or $437 at current exchange rate.
The appeal of driving a classic, luxury car is also part of the peer-to-peer interactions that occur with Turo rentals. Haddad makes the point that “it isn’t too often that you’re able to drive a piece of history for a day” and notes that car owners often swap stories with renters about the classic wheels. This ultimately makes for a “unique way for people to connect in our marketplace,” he said.
Turo has grown quickly — spreading to Canada last April and to the U.K. last December. This expansion has doubled the number of users on a year-on-year basis to 2.3 million. Through word of mouth and the company’s referral program, Haddad said that Turo’s “unique value proposition has been driving strong satisfaction” amongst its renters.
With its top locations being Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Chicago — all ranked as some of most expensive U.S. cities to live in, with the exception of Chicago — the company prides itself on knowing that its prices are significantly lower than those of traditional rental companies. Turo said rental price points are 35 percent lower, and the company has a few independent car rental services renting from them as well.
“Different cities have different dynamics,” Haddad explained. “Local, national and international travelers can play different roles in cities like Honolulu, Montreal or L.A.”
The human-to-human interaction doesn’t stop there. Turo posts images from users to give Instagram followers a glimpse into the experiences and travels of its renters. And aside from vacations, Turo users rent out vehicles for special occasions such as weddings and other extravagant parties.
“In 2014, one of our customers booked five Mini Coopers in different colors for his proposal [because] his fiancée loves Minis,” Haddad said.
Available via app or desktop, Turo allows car owners to list their vehicles on the marketplace. Renters are able to search among over 800 makes and models of vehicles. The rented vehicle is then delivered directly to the user. Owners are able to strategically price their vehicle, receive the booking requests and rental payments via mobile device, and communicate directly with their guests. “Ownership of assets and access to experience is fundamentally changing with the emergence of services like Turo, Airbnb and others,” said Haddad.