Audi launches rental program in San Francisco

Customers can pick any model to drive for up to 28 days, delivered to their door by an Audi \"on demand\" concierge.

Audi has launched a pilot program that will allow San Francisco-area residents to rent cars directly from the automaker.

Known as "Audi on demand," the service gives customers access to most of the company's full lineup -- from the A4 sedan to the R8 sports car. Choices can be browsed and reserved via an iPhone app.

Once a customer makes a selection, the vehicle is delivered directly to their door via an Audi concierge. The representative then helps the customer get acquainted with the vehicle, including the navigation system and music preferences.

"While competing services point their customers to vehicles parked on the street, Audi on demand delivers a truly premium experience, with concierges personally delivering and returning vehicles for customers where and when they need them," said Audi of America COO Mark Del Rosso.

Unsurprisingly, all on-demand models come fully equipped in Premium Plus trim with Quattro all-wheel-drive, SiriusXM satellite radio and MMI Navigation plus, among other features. A full range of additional add-ons can also be requested, including ski or bicycle racks and child safety seats.

Audi claims to be attempting to challenge traditional concepts of vehicle ownership and usage, though the program also appears to serve as a convenient tool to help improve traditional sales. Another program, known as Audi at home, will serve as a small-scale car-sharing service at condominium complexes.

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