Audi will acquire Silvercar as it looks to up its mobility-service game

2017 Audi A4
Audi will acquire mobility company Silvercar, stepping up its involvement in the mobility-service sector in a big way. The German automaker is moving to buy all remaining shares in the Texas-based company after acquiring a minority stake in 2015.

Pending approval by regulators, the companies expect the deal to be complete before the middle of this year. Audi has worked with Silvercar on mobility-related projects since 2012, and Silvercar currently uses Audi A4 sedans exclusively for its airport rental-car service. In 2015, Audi invested $28 million in Silvercar.

“This acquisition enables Audi to move forward with a progressive partner and continue our technology leadership in the next era of mobility,” Audi of America CFO Matt Carpenter said in a statement about the deal.

Audi has been cultivating mobility services for some time now. Its Audi On Demand service offers San Francisco residents short-term car rentals, and the automaker offers a similar Audi At Home service geared toward condos and other residential communities. Both services aim to offer more flexibility than traditional car ownership, while still keeping luxury-car drivers within the Audi fold.

The potential impact of sharing services on the car business has other automakers cozying up with mobility companies as well. General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft last year, and offers low-cost rentals to Lyft drivers through its Maven mobility brand, which offers its own car-sharing services. Volvo is a partner in Uber’s self-driving car program. BMW and Daimler (parent of Mercedes-Benz and Smart) both operate their own car-sharing services.

Sharing service represent a potential threat to automakers, but also a potential opportunity. While increased use of car-sharing or ride-sharing services could lower car sales, automakers could also turn these services into profit centers by operating them themselves. After all, you can’t have a car sharing or ride sharing without cars, and Audi and its compatriots are the ones that make them.

Cars

From salt flats to sand dunes, adventuring off-grid in Audi’s electric E-Tron

Digital Trends traveled to the Namibian desert to get an early taste of the all-electric 2019 Audi e-tron. We drove prototypes on a variety of terrains, including dunes and a salt pan.
Cars

Watch this driverless Range Rover tackle one of U.K.’s ‘most challenging roads’

Jaguar Land Rover just sent its autonomous Range Rover Sport vehicle onto one of the U.K.'s "most challenging road layouts," and the automaker has posted a video online showing exactly how it fared.
Cars

Going my way? Waze takes its carpooling service nationwide

Following a tentative rollout over the last two years, Waze is now expanding its carpooling service to all 50 states, offering drivers a chance to fill their spare seats with riders heading in the same direction.
Cars

The saga continues: Faraday Future sets a court date with its main investor

Faraday Future looked better than ever when it announced a $2 billion investment from a Hong Kong-based firm. The relationship hasn't gone as planned and the company is now suing its main investor over late payments.
Cars

2019 Chevrolet Silverado gets serious about MPG with new four-cylinder engine

In an aggressive bid to improve fuel economy, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will be offered with a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Chevy claims comparable performance to other Detroit automakers' V6 trucks.
Cars

Ford hatches a software update to fix a fiery problem with its GT supercar

Ford warns 200 examples of the GT supercar built between December 2016 and July 2018 can catch fire if hydraulic fluid leaks from the rear wing onto the hot exhaust. It will fix the problem with a software update.
Cars

A public/private autonomous driving institute blooms under the Arizona sun

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM), partnering government, academic, and private organizations to develop self-driving tech and safety standards. Intel is the first private-sector member.
Cars

Can't see in front of you? Here's how to change your windshield wipers

If you can't see out of the front of your car, it's time for a new set of wiper blades. Thankfully, changing your car's windshield wipers is quick and painless if you know what you're doing. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…
Cars

Ford imagines a future without traffic lights or stop signs

Ford is using vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) tech to allow cars to pass through intersections without stopping. The experimental "Intersection Priority Management" system basically acts as air traffic control for cars.
Cars

The supersized BMW X7 is coming with a grille you can park a 2 Series on

BMW will soon expand its lineup with a new range-topping SUV named the X7. The first-ever BMW X7 is shaping up to be the 7 Series of the SUV world in terms of size, price, and image.
Cars

Can't see all of a sudden? Our quick guide on defogging your car windows

Did you suddenly lose exterior visibility while driving because of foggy windows? Don't panic! Here's our quick guide on defogging your car windows in a safe manner while on the go, and a few steps on how to prevent them.
Product Review

The 2019 Volvo V60 proves it's still cool to drive a station wagon

With the 2019 V60, Volvo argues the station wagon segment isn't as moribund as most other automakers say it is. The company goes as far as arguing we're on the cusp of a wagon revival, and the V60 is poised to lead the charge.
Product Review

Volvo’s redesigned 2019 S60 sedan is the best kind of remix

The 2019 Volvo S60 borrows almost everything from other recent Volvo models, but that’s not a problem. From its infotainment system to an available plug-in hybrid powertrain, the S60 takes the best bits from a lineup of great cars.