Daimler's car sharing business car2go to quit UK, London a challenge

A C-class by Daimler AG is pictured before the company's annual news conference in Stuttgart February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler's DAIGn.DE car2go business will withdraw from the United Kingdom at the end of May after the car-sharing business it runs with rental firm Europcar IPO-EUROP.PA failed to gain traction in London.

“We’ve listened closely to customer feedback and taking the UK’s strong culture and tradition of private vehicle ownership into account, we have decided to withdraw from the UK market place,” the company said on its website.

Car2go has been in London since December 2012 and launched in Birmingham in 2013.

Car2go had hoped to establish a network of “free floating” parking spaces across London where customers could pick up and drop off cars. But coordinating 32 separate authorities across different boroughs proved to be more difficult than anticipated.

“The unique challenges we encountered were more significant than expected,” the company said.

Car2go failed to win more than 10,000 customers and therefore could not achieve the five to eight daily bookings necessary to make the business sustainable in the U.K., a spokesman for the company said.

By contrast, car2go had attracted around 110,000 users in Rome and Milan and around 70,000 clients in Germany where the service is offered in seven cities including Berlin and Hamburg.

World-wide car2go has 750,000 registered users and is present in 25 cities.

Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach, writing by Edward Taylor; editing by Susan Thomas