Car rental disruptor comes to London

A new mobile app-based car rental service promising to shake up the market has launched in London today, following rollouts in France and Belgium.

Claiming to be the world's first 100% mobile service, Virtuo says it will shake things up further in the car rental market by enabling Londoners to register, enquire and book their journeys as well as locate and unlock their cars within minutes – all using only their mobile phone. In this case, the focus is on trips over 30 miles as the company looks to tap into the growing appetite away from car ownership.

For £35 per day, users will be able to pick up cars in Virtuo’s own-fleet of ‘standardised premium cars’ like Mercedes A-Class vehicles in five London locations: Victoria, Waterloo, King’s Cross St Pancras, Marble Arch and Kensington.

The app has already secured tens of thousands of downloads ahead of launch, according to Virtuo. Already available in nine cities across France and Belgium, the app has attracted EUR10m of investment since Virtuo was founded in 2015.

“Virtuo’s passion was born out of a frustration when renting cars: hidden fees, limited opening hours, long queues for pick-up and returns. The industry is known for poor customer satisfaction and constant customer complaints. But this app is designed to change all of that and put the customer (literally) in the driving seat,” the company said.

Michael Altom, General Manager Virtuo UK & Ireland, added: “The mobility market is changing at an unprecedented rate. After using our service, enjoying the customer support and the seamless experience, our customers won’t go back to traditional car rental companies or even own a car.”

Looking to the longer term future of transportation, Rolls-Royce has unveiled a flying taxi design proposal that could take off vertically and carry five passengers for 500 mile without being recharged. The company is looking for partners for the venture that could get off the ground commercially in the early 2020s.

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