Daimler's car-sharing service car2go was shut down temporarily Thursday (April 18) in Chicago after a slew of Mercedes-Benz cars were stolen by using the app.
According to a report, the Chicago Police Department was notified that some of the vehicles used for the car2go program may have been fraudulently rented through the mobile app, and the cars were used to commit other crimes.
The Chicago Police Department confirmed the theft and said the investigation was continuing. About 100 vehicles were still lost, with the police estimating around 50 to still be in the Chicago area.
More than a dozen individuals are considered to be people of interest in the crimes. Although the criminals were able to order the cars via the app, car2go told the news outlet that none of its customers' information has been compromised.
In March of last year, Daimler paid $85 million to purchase the remaining 25 percent stake in car2go that it didn't already own, as part of the car maker's strategy to push into the ride-sharing market. With that investment, car2go's valuation increased to $341 million.
Daimler has also acquired a stake in Chauffeur Privé, one of the leading private hire vehicle services in France, as well as the German-based ridesharing company flinc. “Over the course of the last several months, we have intensified our investments in mobility services in order to create a holistic mobility system with a broad portfolio,” said Daimler’s Head of Mobility Services Jörg Lamparter in a statement at the time. “As part of this strategy, we decided to fully acquire the remaining shares in car2go Europe.”
Daimler isn't alone in going after the car-sharing market as startups reinvent what it means to get from point A to point B. With car ownership potentially taking a hit thanks to the likes of Uber and Lyft, the vehicle makers are responding by launching their own services or acquiring existing ones. In November, General Motors announced its car sharing unit Maven would make its P2P service available to non-GM vehicles.