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.

Daily Insights in Your Inbox

Edit your preferences or unsubscribe