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BERLIN (AP) — Germans, once a nation of ardent automobile enthusiasts, are not buying cars as much as they used to. Instead, they're sharing them.

The country has become the world's biggest user of one-way car sharing plans, where people can find a vehicle using their smartphone, drive it across town and leave it there without having to return it to a central base.

The trend has been boosted by Germany's powerful auto industry, which first ignored the car sharing phenomenon, but is now jumping on board. Some companies are betting big on the idea, not just for short trips within cities, but also for longer ones between them.
car2go offering city to city option:

On Tuesday, Daimler launched a new option for its Car2Go short-term rental service that allows customers to take one of its Mercedes-Benz B-class vehicles from Berlin to Hamburg, or vice versa, and leave it there.

The move marks a departure for Car2Go, which until now has only offered two-seater Smart cars for its 600,000 customers to zip around within 25 cities across Europe and North America.

Daimler is following in the tire tracks of DriveNow, a joint venture between its rival BMW and car rental firm SIXT, which began offering a similar service between Cologne and Duesseldorf last year.

"We're responding to requests from our customers, who say they occasionally need a bigger car that they can take outside the city boundaries," said Marcus Spickermann, the head of Daimler Mobility Services GmbH, which operates Car2Go.

As German car sales drop, industry bets on sharing
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