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Silvercar zooming into new markets

Revved up by new owner Audi, Silvercar Inc. is expanding its airport car rental services and hiring new talent as it scales up.

The Austin-based transportation startup announced Monday that it will double operations in the next 18 months. That includes reaching new markets on both coasts: Silvercar is launching in Seattle on July 31 and Orlando on Aug. 28. Reservations opened Monday.

Once those two cities are online, Silvercar will be active in more than a dozen markets. The company, launched in 2012, operates a car rental platform accessed entirely by app and using all silver Audi A4s. The German automaker bought Silvercar earlier this year for an undisclosed amount and kept Luke Schneider as CEO.

Silvercar plans to grow its corporate headcount to keep up with the geographic expansion. The company employs just over 50 people in Austin — a number expected to grow to 65-70 by the end of the year, said Kay Stroman, chief administrative officer. Many of the new hires will be in marketing and engineering, including product design and user experience design.

The hiring includes new faces in the executive ranks. Amber Quist was hired earlier this year as Silvercar’s first chief marketing office. She was previously CMO at Car2Go, the Austin-based car-sharing platform owned by Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

Silvercar is also upgrading its fleet with new 2017-18 A4 models. All of its cars now come with Wi-Fi, GPS navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio at no additional cost, according to Monday's announcement.

"Silvercar is growing because people are fed up with an industry that has failed to adequately serve them," Chris Donus, Silvercar's chief financial officer, said in a statement.

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