RelayRides buys car-sharing competitor Wheelz for keyless technology
Think of this as a rare occasion where a General Motors collaborator is providing Ford with a little cash. A GM partner, peer-to-peer car-sharing operator RelayRides, is buying competitor Wheelz for an undisclosed amount, GigaOM reports. It’s a bit of a stretch, but Ford is connected to Wheelz.
The draw for RelayRides is Wheelz’s so-called DriveBox technology, which facilitates car entry without owner and renter having to go through the trouble of swapping keys. An additional wrinkle is that one of the investors of Wheelz, which had tried to corner the car-sharing market at universities, is Fontinalis Partners, an investment vehicle for automaker scion Bill Ford.
In 2011, RelayRides reached an agreement with GM that involved GM car owners with OnStar systems being able to car-share through RelayRides. That collaboration went into effect last summer. More recently, RelayRides caught heat from New York State for what the state government says is false advertising. The issue involves whether car-owners sharing their vehicles through RelayRides are liable for expenses if their cars are wrecked or stolen, or if the cars are covered by insurance.
By Danny King