Mercedes launches car-sharing service Croove

For something like a century, car makers have sold one car to one person one time and then waited for them to wear out that car and come back to the dealership for another one. Increasingly, that model is outmoded, and Mercedes-Benz is putting another nail in that model’s coffin with Croove.

The car-sharing service launched in Munich this month with a couple of twists. Croove is a peer-to-peer sharing service, unlike fellow Daimler-owned service car2go or BMW’s ReachNow. Those services provide a fleet of cars to be shared in a city. Croove is open to anyone with any brand of car — private cars included.

Croove is only available as an iOS app for now, though Mercedes promises to have an Android version available soon, plus a desktop site. Requirements for sharing are simple; owners fill out a profile for their vehicle, including any options it has. The app then walks the owner through setting the price to rent the car. The vehicle does have to be “in good condition and no more than 15 years old,” according to a press release.

It’s just as simple for renters to rent, as long as they’re at least 21 years old and have a license. They use the app to find a car that suits their needs and contact the owner. Then the two users can either arrange an in-person key exchange, or the renter can pay a bit more for pickup and delivery by the owner. The app includes a checklist to use when looking for damage after the rental is concluded. Mercedes is looking to develop a PIN-based keyless function to make the exchange even more frictionless.

Croove is part of Mercedes’s CASE strategy, which stands for connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric drive systems. Mercedes announced the creation of this separate, independent entity in September to advance technologies in these spaces from ideas to reality. The EQ electric mobility brand, which includes the Generation EQ concept vehicle, also falls under this particular umbrella.