The venture—set up last year by a local Internet company—flooded the Russian capital with more than 7,000 cars to rent for as little as 5 rubles (8 cents) per minute, including fuel, maintenance and parking. That compares to 41 cents a minute for Daimler AG’s Car2Go in New York and is an offer too good to pass up for a growing number of Muscovites.
Almost out of nowhere, car-sharing in Moscow boomed, with the number of vehicles more than tripling last year. The city now has the biggest shared fleet in Europe and the second-largest in the world. The rapid shift spells trouble for automakers by providing a blueprint for how a deep-pocketed technology player can move quickly to woo consumers with alternatives to traditional car ownership.