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Can SilverCar be the JetBlue of car rentals?

By October 12, 2012No Comments2 min read

2013 audi a4
I don’t usually talk about specific startups, much less non-miami startups. However this one caught my eye the other day: Silvercar. Silvercar who just raised $11.5M from various funds in their series A round is hoping to disrupt the rental car market. The rental car market is a $30B+ a year market dominated by the likes of Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise.

So what I find interesting is where Silvercar is starting fleet wise. They are picking an entire fleet of Audi A4 vehicles to fill up their fleet. The A4 is a fine looking car, sporty enough, and luxurious enough. What I find interesting about this choice is all the cars will be silver in color (which helps with branding silver car), the same make and model (which reduces maintenance costs dramatically), and nice enough for business travelers to pick them over the town car or Chrysler 300 that the other companies are renting out.

So what makes them potentially the JetBlue of car-rentals? Well JetBlue started out with a fleet of all Airbus a320s with nice, but not extravagantly appointed planes, and a very straightforward and technologically advanced service. Silvercar is following in these footsteps. You will unlock their car w/your smart phone, each car has onboard computers that will sync to your preferences and monitor all the car info (gas levels, miles driven, etc) and report it all back automatically.

Considering that the rental car market is getting attacked from multiple angles (one could argue zipcar is disrupting this or even car2go), it will be interesting to see how this slow moving market responds to silvercar and other potential disruptors like it. Hertz was reportedly trying to compete with Zipcar through a subsidiary at one point. This reminds me of a NY-London business class only jet service which was around a few years back (all went out of business btw )

Will this work? Maybe. I like the idea, but it needs to expand to business traffic hubs (LA, SFO, SEA, BOS, NYC, WAS, DFW, ATL, MIA, CHI) and potentially partner with airlines and others who book biz class seats regularly.