Fraud kills classic car business
Image: dok1 2010
Classic cars and luxury vehicles were shared by a peer to peer rental company called HiGear, which operated in San Francisco, California. However, this week the company announced that, despite its best efforts, it was closing its doors due to a number of thefts which have taken place recently.
HiGear offered customers a way of getting behind the wheel of classic cars and high end vehicles which they would not usually have access to and its revenues topped $1.3 million in 2011. However, with around $400,000 worth of cars stolen on four separate occasions in recent weeks, it seems that its business model was simply too susceptible to the fraudulent activities of thieves.
HiGear had created a security system which meant that background checks and licence examinations were carried out before any exchange of vehicles took place between people using the service. However, with phoney documents, it seemed that even these preventative measures could be circumvented, resulting in four classic cars being stolen.
There are other car sharing companies around but most of these have remote tracking systems and door locking capabilities built into smartphone apps, so that owners - and clients - are less likely to see their vehicle disappear. Since HiGear lacked such features, it seems doomed to live on only as an example to others.