Audi announced last month its acquisition of Silvercar, a Texas-based car rental service that has also been an innovator in digital. The deal represents the latest instance of a car manufacturer buying a savvy company in efforts to further its digital footprint.
Silvercar was the first major car rental company letting customers rent and return via mobile, lending the brand a tech-savvy reputation in comparison with more staid competitors. Buying the company – and its proprietary technology platform – would help Audi “expand its digital mobility solutions and services,” the automaker said in a statement.
Other automakers are also seeking to bolster their digital offerings by buying and investing in savvy startups, from the connected car space to ride-sharing. Last year, Audi parent Volkswagen invested $300 million in car service Gett, while General Motors invested $500 million in rival Lyft.
The plethora of deals indicates manufacturers’ recognition that digital has become a crucial element of their business. Audi earns a spot in the Gifted category of L2’s Digital IQ Index: Auto, testifying to the brand’s digital acumen and its realization that to stay ahead in the Auto sector, brands must focus on digital technology as much as traditional manufacturing.