Our team likes renting from Silvercar for a number of reasons. Now owned by Audi, the company has only rented Audis from the inception of the firm. The first vehicle in the fleet was the Audi A4, which we enjoyed in Las Vegas and tested out all of the included features such as on-board navigation and WiFi. Earlier this year, the company added a second reservable model to the fleet, the Audi Q5 SUV. Silvercar then partnered with Peg Perego to provide child safety seats for free in their Audis (subject to availability). Last month, the company introduced a summer contest where the grand prize was an Audi A5 Cabriolet and our blog noted that it didn't make much sense for Silvercar to give away a car the company did not rent unless the A5 Cabriolet was the third addition to the fleet. Silvercar just confirmed our intuition.
As mentioned last month:
The A5 is a really nice ride but really has us wondering -- why is Audi giving away an A5 Cabriolet when the company only rents Audi A4s (our rental experience is described here) and recently added Audi Q5s? Perhaps the company is giving us a subtle (or not-so-subtle) hint given locations in many areas where convertibles are usable year-round ...
Starting June 29, 2018, renters will be able to rent the Audi A5 Cabriolet. Well, a renter can reserve one now for pickup at the end of June or later; the vehicles won't be in the fleet until the end of June. And we've seen non-discounted rates start at $89 per day (pre-tax) for the Cabriolet in competitive luxury markets such as Miami; the rates are more expensive in less-competitive markets such as Los Angeles (where we saw $142 per day, pre-tax) or Brooklyn (where we saw $164 per day, pre-tax). While the company's renting a new model, the pricing in some areas might scare off many renters despite the guarantee of an exact vehicle type.
The one aspect we (or Silvercar) got wrong from a business development framework? AutoSlash Consulting Services had pegged availability of the Cabriolet at locations where the Cabriolet could be useful year-round (e.g. Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San Diego, Los Angeles). The company did not make the vehicle available to Fort Lauderdale, which is probably wise due to Sixt already owning the luxury convertible market there. Silvercar did include locations such as Brooklyn, Chicago, Denver, Manhattan, Salt Lake City, and Washington-Dulles, most decidedly not fun places to have a Cabriolet in the November-through-March timeframe. We suspect Audi and Silvercar will learn that lesson soon enough.
Looking for a convertible? Silvercar provides a new option in fourteen of their limited locations but the exciting part is that these vehicles are available in multiple cities ordinarily devoid of rental convertibles. We're still rooting for the company and respect the fact Audi's willing to focus on a consistent premium experience for renters, even though competitors usually have lower discounted rates.