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TURO is a peer-to-peer car rental service that connects car owners ready to share some their cars with users who would need a car for a couple of hours, a day, a weekend or more. It is US based and now started growing abroad, especially in Canada. It is a pure representative of what we call the “sharing economy” and it is aligned with nowadays trends of sharing, connecting and online services. After many luxury news announcements, this one is definitely one to highlight.

The Sharing economy is a 16 years old model now

The sharing economy concept is not new. It is a hybrid market model (in between owning and gift giving) which refers to peer-to-peer-based sharing of access to goods and services. This is coordinated through community-based online services. It can be a website, a mobile app or both.  The term “sharing economy” began to appear in the early 2000s, as new business structures emerged due to the Great Recession, enabling social technologies, and an increasing sense of urgency around global population growth and resource depletion. One inspiration was the tragedy of the commons, which refers to the idea that when we all act solely in our self-interest, we deplete the shared resources we need for our own quality of life. The Harvard law professor, Yochai Benkler, one of the earliest proponents of open source software, posited that network technology could mitigate this issue through what he called ‘commons-based peer production’, a concept first articulated in 2002. Benkler then extended that analysis to “shareable goods” in Sharing Nicely: On Shareable goods and the emergence of sharing as a modality of economic production. We should probably call it “access-economy” as we give access to existing resources.

The idea of ownership has changed

New generations are not necessary keen to possess a car, a house, a boat, a long collection of books, CDs, DVDs, etc. Nevertheless, they definitely wish to have access to all of these and much more. Recently Forrester conducted a study in the US among young generations from 16 to 25 years old. The results have shown that they have less intentions to buy a car and a house than the previous generation at the same age. This is where the idea of “access economy” is a relevant model for the new generation. They do not want to own a car but might need one for a weekend or even for a couple of hours. They do not wish to buy a house but are more than happy to rent one for a lovely weekend in Paris or a great trip to San Francisco thanks to AirBnB. They will not buy the new album from their preferred artist but listen to all his music on Spotify. They will not buy a DVD about the last Avengers but rent it on streaming online or watch the Daredevil series on Netflix. The sense of ownership has changed a lot and we feel that there is no turning back. That is why companies which product and services are aligned with this massive trend will have a perfect future in the incoming years.

TURO, share your car and share happiness.

Shelby Clark founded TURO in 2009 (at that time the company was called RelayRides), along with Harvard Business School classmates Nabeel Al-Kady and Tara Reeves. The peer-to-peer car-sharing concept was inspired by similar online marketplaces such as Airbnb and eBay. Deciding to leverage underutilized vehicles as a resource, Clark proposed a model “for the community, by the community”. The service was first launched in Boston in June 2010. In late 2010, it expanded to San Francisco, where it is now headquartered, and in March 2012 it launched nationwide in the US. After acquiring one of its competitors the company decided to change name and become TURO. In 2012, Turo partnered with major automaker General Motors and their OnStar division to help renters unlock GM cars with their mobile phones. In September of 2013, however, the company announced they would be discontinuing their Onstar technology integration to strategically focus on the fastest growing part of their business, long duration car rentals. Today from Atlanta, to Boston, Chicago or even Honolulu, as well as in Canada, you can enjoy the services of good cars with all the flexibility that online procures. Turo covers vehicles with up to $1 million of liability insurance to protect car owners against lawsuits for injuries and property damage. Cars listed must be 2006 or newer with an odometer reading below 130,000 miles, with some exceptions. All Turo users are screened for trust and safety purposes.



TURO, sharing your music can be also a sharing experience.

One interesting detail in the car rental service is that owners can easily share their music so it will be part of the user journey. They can let some cds in the car, or if you have a more modern car you can have a music playlist or at least let a jack plug wire to allow TURO users to plug their own music. It is an interesting topic as it can also be part of a country or region discovery from a cultural point of view. Why not leaving a novel book in the back seat? It can be a nice gesture for the car passengers in case you are doing a long trip or just for an evening if you rent the car over a weekend. Sharing can have multiple facets. If I would have a car to share, this is the playlist I would share with the people who would rent my car in the US for a weekend:

You can check the official website of TURO to get more information about the Car sharing service:

The sharing economy is an interesting hot topic and some companies have been already working in this new landscape for several years. For sure internet developed many possibilities to connect people together and a few companies found opportunities to build sustainable businesses with it.

José Amorim

Info sourced at the Turo website and communication. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only.