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CAR2SHARE China.

The SMART option for China.

To drive, or not to drive.

To drive, or not to drive is no longer the question – at least that’s true for the 20,000-CAR2SHARE members across China. Since its official launch in September 2015, CAR2SHARE has been welcomed with open arms. Of course it’s easy to see why this project has been so successful in retrospect. Daimler Business Innovation chose the perfect target market – educated, technology savvy clientele, that have limited options to purchase a car, but are still looking to get behind the wheel – and the perfect location – busy central business districts in China. When you add in that we were the first self-drive player in the Chinese market it’s no wonder that CAR2SHARE China cooked up the perfect recipe for success.

To drive, or not to drive.

To drive, or not to drive is no longer the question – at least that’s true for the 20,000-CAR2SHARE members across China. Since its official launch in September 2015, CAR2SHARE has been welcomed with open arms. Of course it’s easy to see why this project has been so successful in retrospect. Daimler Business Innovation chose the perfect target market – educated, technology savvy clientele, that have limited options to purchase a car, but are still looking to get behind the wheel – and the perfect location – busy central business districts in China. When you add in that we were the first self-drive player in the Chinese market it’s no wonder that CAR2SHARE China cooked up the perfect recipe for success.

Who says you need to own.

Car ownership in China has traditionally been seen as a status symbol to the point that if you’ve “made it” you likely have a car in your driveway. The thing is for many – and this is especially true of the youth of today – car ownership is simply not feasible. In many Chinese mega cities this is due to plate restrictions. For example, in the capital city of Beijing, the chances of winning the “plate lottery” are less than 0.15%. And this is where CAR2SHARE comes in: with vehicle hotspots located in the same office building customers work in, it’s easy for customers to feel like they have their own personal vehicle at their beck and call.

In addition the CAR2SHARE model is planting seeds for future purchases. The CAR2SHARE fleet is made up exclusively of SMART vehicles. This is the perfect car, especially in congested cities to quickly and easily zip around. Using this fleet is fostering future customers that are loyal to the SMART brand. Customers test our cars, become familiar with them and in some cases become ambassadors of the brand. Now instead of simply being a customer they’re able to share their experience with their friends and family – some of which are able to purchase at this time. In addition, the fleet itself is parked in locations that are highly visible to non-customers. This means that even people who aren’t customers of CAR2SHARE are seeing the SMART brand in smart locations.

Mobility at your fingertips.

Young, fresh and in the know. One of the main reasons CAR2SHARE China has been so successful is that we’ve tapped into mobile. The tool that almost every white-collar worker has in his or her pocket provides direct access to the CAR2SHARE fleet via the popular WeChat.

It’s as simple as this: make a reservation, pick up the car in the company parking lot, get behind the wheel, and go. Once finished you can simply drop off at the same location and pay via WeChat pay.

Creating buzz the smart way.

The apps aren’t just for bookings they’re also the easiest – and most effective – way to reach our target audience. We can easily share current promotions that we’re running and our audience can easily share among their network. For example, on the lead up to Christmas we placed several SMART vehicles decked out in Christmas cheer across different hotspots. The free publicity generated from these vehicles was astounding: over 600 users shared a photo of the Christmas SMART vehicles on their personal WeChat with their community. Another promotion that is underway this month is revolves around planting trees. Essentially if a customer places an order, or shares their activity, then CAR2SHARE will plant trees! As an added bonus certain users will have the chance to name the donated trees.

Creating buzz the smart way.

The apps aren’t just for bookings they’re also the easiest – and most effective – way to reach our target audience. We can easily share current promotions that we’re running and our audience can easily share among their network. For example, on the lead up to Christmas we placed several SMART vehicles decked out in Christmas cheer across different hotspots. The free publicity generated from these vehicles was astounding: over 600 users shared a photo of the Christmas SMART vehicles on their personal WeChat with their community. Another promotion that is underway this month is revolves around planting trees. Essentially if a customer places an order, or shares their activity, then CAR2SHARE will plant trees! As an added bonus certain users will have the chance to name the donated trees.

This is only the beginning.

  CAR2SHARE China started with an idea – self-drive options for those working in corporations. We’ve proven that our formula works on a small scale, and now we’re on the road to expanding throughout the Chinese market.  BI not only managed to make it work for the local market, it encouraged it to excel! The reception of the Chinese market has been extremely recepetive to the self-drive car-sharing model and this is only expected to grow in popularity. Although this project is still very new, we’re excited for where it is currently and incredibly excited for how it will look in the coming years.

This article was published by Business Innovation, Daimler’s lab for innovative business solutions. Please find us on Facebook, Twitter as well as Instagram and join the discussion in the Business Innovation Forum.