Audi rental scheme for UK

Auto Express - - Contents - John Mcil­roy John_m­cil­roy@den­ @john­m­cil­roy

Whole range will be on of­fer in in­no­va­tive hire scheme

AUDI is plan­ning to roll out an on-de­mand ve­hi­cle rental ser­vice across the UK by the end of 2018. It will of­fer users the full range of its ve­hi­cles via a smart­phone app, and price plans will range from a sin­gle hour up to a week.

Audi On De­mand has been tri­alled in San Francisco and from a base at Mu­nich Air­port. The next lo­ca­tion will be Bei­jing, where the ser­vice will start op­er­a­tions within the next eight weeks – but Audi has plans to ex­pand it to 15 coun­tries by the end of the decade. The sys­tem al­lows the app user to choose an in­di­vid­ual ve­hi­cle from a stock list, and the car is then de­liv­ered within two hours of it be­ing or­dered.

Prices vary from re­gion to re­gion, but in the US a Q7 SUV costs around $270 (£210) per day, and at Mu­nich a Q2 cross­over has a rental rate of €14 (£12) per hour. Bet­tina Bern­hardt, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Audi Busi­ness In­no­va­tion depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for On De­mand, told Auto Ex­press that Bri­tish cus­tomers would be of­fered the ser­vice “within the next 18 months”.

“The UK will be one of the first coun­tries in the ex­pan­sion,” she con­firmed, be­fore adding: “We will be us­ing the Audi dealer net­work to as­sist with this across the UK. It won’t be of­fered just in Lon­don; deal­ers who want to help with it will be able to par­tic­i­pate.”

The trial in San Francisco re­vealed that just un­der a third of On De­mand cus­tomers ac­cessed the ser­vice to drive high­per­for­mance Audis – S and RS mod­els, plus the R8 – and 15 per cent used the app to set up an ex­tended test drive while con­sid­er­ing a ve­hi­cle pur­chase. Audi’s US net­work of­fered dis­counts of around £1,000 (£770) to On De­mand users that went on to buy a car.

Bern­hardt also re­vealed that the On De­mand ser­vice will ex­pand be­yond ve­hi­cle rental to in­clude chauf­feur ser­vices via the same app. “The chauf­feur ser­vice will come first in China,” she said. “But it is planned to have it in cer­tain lo­ca­tions in the US and in Europe, in­clud­ing the UK.”

App-based hire scheme com­ing En­tire range will be of­fered “In the US, cus­tomers used On De­mand for ex­tended tests, and went on to earn a dis­count on their new car”

READY TO ROLL Cur­rent sites in­clude Mu­nich Air­port, while UK ser­vice would be bol­stered by re­gional Audi deal­er­ships

TAP AND GO Audi On De­mand app al­lows you to book a car for hourly or daily rates for up to a week

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