Ride-sharing giant Lyft has crossed into the car rental market, and will directly compete with industry staples like Hertz and Avis.
The company announced the new service in a blog post Thursday, pledging to provide riders "flexibility to rent" as opposed to booking regular Lyft service. Rentals are already available in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, Calif.
At launch, Lyft is making the Volkswagen Passat sedan and the Volkswagen Atlas SUV available to rent in San Francisco. The Mazda 3 sedan and Mazda CX-5 SUV will be the launch cars in Los Angeles.
Rates start at $35 per day, and the cars can be rented for up to two weeks. There’s no word yet on when other cities might see this program up and running there.
It’s not hard to see why Lyft would make this foray into a business that exists in close proximity to their core business. Lyft is popular in cities among people who may not own a car, but like to have access to one via the ride-share app. But many of its users might also be renting cars for longer trips through car rental companies — or car-sharing companies like Share Now. If you’re already providing customers with one service, why not offer something similar? The impact on this for both Lyft and the car rental world could be huge.