Scotland business

US car-share app aims to cut ownership

Car Image copyright Turo
Image caption Turo is hoping to make inroads into the market in Scotland

US car-sharing firm Turo, described as "Airbnb for cars", is hoping to cut vehicle ownership.

The company, which has launched in Scotland, lets people rent out their vehicles to strangers online, while taking a cut of the proceeds.

It is one of several technology firms looking to get into what has become known as the 'sharing economy'.

Turo's UK boss Xavier Collins said it was trying to expand at a time when the future of the car was being debated.

Mr Collins, who used to work for ride-hailing app Uber and online food delivery firm Deliveroo, said: "The sharing economy is a really exciting space.

"There's obviously a lot of challenges - particularly in the early days when you're looking to build trust.

"What the success of some of these companies demonstrates is that, if you can get it right, then there's a huge opportunity."

Turo describes itself as the world's biggest car-sharing start-up technology company, with the company deciding to launch in Scotland due to demand.

Image caption Xavier Collins said companies trying to break into the sharing economy found it challenging to win the trust of potential clients

It came as the Tech Nation annual report, in association with the World Economic Forum", said the UK technology sector took in £6bn of investment in 2018, with Scottish firms playing a key role in designing new products.

"We've always been interested in Scotland as a market," Mr Collins told BBC radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, adding: "Something we saw from the early days, there's always been a lot of searches here.

"If you think about Scotland and what it offers in terms of travel and the amazing drives you can do around the Highlands, it just made a lot of sense."

Mr Collins also told the programme: "Everyone's talking about, what is the future of the car?

"What I'm excited to see is this world where mobility is changing from one person relying on a car for the majority of their trips, to a world where - if you want to get around - you're tapping into your phone.

"Part of the goal is better utilising the cars we've got today. There's a billion cars in the world right now and they sit idle 95% of the time.

"By better utilising these resources, putting money in people's pockets, but also giving people access to them, more and more people will get rid of their car."

For the latest business news as it happens, follow BBC presenter Andrew Black's updates each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme between 0600 and 0900.

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