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Transportation

The ‘Airbnb of Cars’ Gets Heat From the Rental Car Industry

Peer-to-peer sharing services that let owners rent out their vehicles are a focus of concern from traditional car rental companies, who see disruption ahead.
A new challenger has arrived: Peer-to-peer car-sharing platforms like Turo have earned the ire of traditional car rental companies.
A new challenger has arrived: Peer-to-peer car-sharing platforms like Turo have earned the ire of traditional car rental companies.Courtesy of Turo

When the Tesla Model 3 hit the market in 2017, Jason Chan immediately bought two of them. And then Chan, who works as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, turned his mini-fleet of electric sedans into a business. He listed both vehicles on Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform often called the “Airbnb for cars.” Soon after, Chan bought a new Tesla Model X (that’s the company’s higher-end three-row electric SUV, the one with the “falcon doors”) and listed it, too. He made more than $80,000 in his first year, he estimates.

None of this was a coincidence. “I bought the cars specifically after I found out about Turo, for the purpose of writing them off as business vehicles,” Chan said. “And I found an opportunity to make money renting them out.”