first tested car rentals
late last year in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It will expand rentals to Seattle, Las Vegas and Miami in August, and to 30 other cities in the weeks after, according to Cal Lankton, Lyft’s vice president of fleet and global operations.
The car rentals are the latest example of Lyft striving to make its app a one-stop shop for transportation services,
though it comes as the car rental sector overall has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the largest American car rental companies, Hertz, filed for bankruptcy
on May 25.
Rather than own its rental fleet, as it did in California, Lyft is partnering with the German company Sixt, which will supply the cars. The partnership will keep the costs of owning and operating a fleet off of Lyft’s balance sheet. Lyft’s business has been significantly impacted
in the past few months, and it’s had to lay off 17% of its staff
Lankton told CNN Business that Lyft’s focus isn’t to compete with other car rental companies on price, but by providing convenience.
“People want easy, consistent access to transportation,” Lankton said. “The best thing we can do from a Lyft perspective is provide an easy, friction-free experience.”
When booking a rental, customers can select the class of vehicle they’ll want, such as an SUV. Thirty minutes before a rental is scheduled to begin, customers can choose the exact make and model. Lyft said it will offer a $10 Lyft ride credit to get customers home after they return a rental to a Sixt lot.
Sixt benefits from Lyft connecting it with potential customers, but the companies did not disclose financial terms of the partnership.
Customers will have access to roughly 5,000 vehicles in the initial three markets, according to Sebastian Birkel, who leads US operations for Sixt.
Sixt is growing even as its US car rental competitors
struggle amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The company acquired 10 US airport locations from Advantage Rent a Car earlier this month.