Turo drives to car sharing success in Australia

US car sharing company Turo has arrived in Australia, giving locals and international visitors access to thousands of convenient travel options across the country.

As a vast country with long distances between destinations, Australia is an ideal market for Turo. Australians’ openness to trying new technologies has also boosted uptake of Turo’s service. Since opening an office in Sydney in November 2022, the company has added hundreds of Australian car owners (hosts) and thousands of cars, including electric vehicles (EVs), onto its platform.

A convenient, personalised car sharing experience

Turo is the world’s largest peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace with a network across more than 12,000 cities in the US, UK, Canada, France and Australia. As of 30 June 2023, the company has over 175,000 active hosts, over 350,000 active vehicle listings and 3.2 million active guests. These guests have put dollars back into local economies and help fuel hosts’ businesses. The hosts who list their cars on Turo have earned a collective US$3.1 billion since the company’s inception in 2009.

‘We offer deals on all kinds of cars, and our booking experience is more convenient and personalised than traditional rental car companies,’ says Timothy Rossanis, Head of Turo Australia. ‘We also give hosts an opportunity to start and scale car sharing businesses.’

Driving EV adoption across Australia

Turo is also the first global peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace to be certified carbon neutral. The company invests in carbon offset projects in transportation efficiency, ecological conservation and responsible forestry. It is also helping people transition to EVs.

‘The percentage of EVs on our platform is significantly greater than the percentage of EVs in circulation across Australia,’ says Rossanis. ‘This gives Australians more opportunities to try EVs for longer than a 15-minute test drive. We believe this will be a key strategy as the Australian Government continues to implement EV adoption initiatives. Additionally, we help car owners make the EV switch by earning money from sharing their cars on Turo.’

A white sedan car drives on a bend on a twisty country road


An ideal market for car sharing

Australia is Turo’s fourth international market after Canada, the UK and France, and its first in the Southern Hemisphere. Rossanis says Australia has several attributes that make it an ideal market for Turo’s car sharing platform.

‘Australia is a large country and people need transport to travel between locations,’ he says. ‘This is especially true for international tourists who base themselves in a city and travel to regional attractions. Australia is one of the world’s top tourism destinations, so we knew there would be a large market for our service.’

Turo’s data showed that Australians are in the top five Turo guest nationalities, despite the company not having an official presence in the country until November 2022. This was partly because the countries where Turo was present prior to its Australian launch – the US, Canada, the UK and France – are popular tourist destinations for Australians.

‘We saw a lot of bookings by Australian drivers in our existing markets,’ says Rossanis. ‘We’re now seeing the opposite play out here, where a big percentage of our Australian bookings are from the US, the UK, France and Canada.’

Another plus is Australia’s overall readiness to use, adopt and adapt frontier technologies.

‘Australia’s a great investment destination for tech companies,’ says Rossanis. ‘Australians are open-minded, practical, curious about and receptive to new ideas and solutions. Australia has shown itself to be an early adopter of services. The country’s innovative culture has also created technologies that are used around the world.’

How Austrade helped

Austrade provided Turo with market insights on parking services and talent resources, and referrals to service providers in the lead-up to the company’s Australian market entry. Austrade also succeeded in getting the Australian Taxation Office to list Turo as an option on its peer-to-peer car sharing webpage. Post-launch, Austrade has introduced Rossanis to regional tourism organisations and local councils to explore potential partnerships.

‘We’ve barely scratched the surface of how we can work together,’ says Rossanis. ‘Turo’s mission is to put the 1.5 billion cars in the world – including 20 million in Australia – to better use. As we become bigger, I can see us continuing to work with Austrade. There’s so much more to come.’

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