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Volkswagen closes Europcar acquisition

VW says Europcar will be cornerstone of new platform which will cover customers’ mobility needs from sharing for a few hours to subscription for multiple months.

By David Leggett

A Volkswagen-led consortium has closed the Europcar buy transaction and VW says it is aiming to secure a significant share of the global market for mobility services over the next decade.

VW maintains that, together with its consortium partners Attestor and Pon Holdings, it will accelerate Europcar Mobility Group’s transformation to become the leader in sustainable mobility through technology and data.

The company will continue its existing partnerships while, at the same time, becoming a cornerstone of Volkswagen’s future mobility platform.

Europcar Mobility Group’s offer will cater to a wide variety of the customers’ mobility needs, from car sharing for a few hours to car subscription for multiple months. Pilot phases of mobility services in partnership between Volkswagen, Porsche Bank and Europcar are to start as early as Q4/22 in Vienna. Hamburg is expected to follow in Q1/23.

An important next step for the platform will be the introduction of autonomous vehicles in the second half of the decade. This will enable entirely new services and lift the business to an even higher level of efficiency and profitability.

Christian Dahlheim, CEO of Volkswagen Financial Services, said: “We are really excited that our customer-centric vision of future mobility materializes with the closing of the Europcar transaction. Its dedicated team brings important capabilities and assets to the table that help us to realize our plans swiftly. Our expectation is that by far most people will still prefer individual mobility by 2030, but it will be more about using and less about owning vehicles. Our new mobility platform will perfectly respond to this trend with a highly flexible and convenient offering at our customers’ fingertip. Autonomous vehicles will be the next gamechanger and lift the platform to an even higher level on the way to NEW AUTO.”

Step 1: Centralize all mobility services in the new platform

Volkswagen Financial Services are an essential part of the NEW AUTO strategy and have a core role with regard to Mobility Solutions. The VW Group brands will offer branded mobility services tailored to their customers’ needs, however all of them will be hosted by the new central platform. Furthermore, an overarching offering is planned. One app will give access to a wide variety of convenient and seamless services in the future. A joint fleet of vehicles, covering all these services – from car rental and subscription to car sharing and ride hailing – will ensure a high degree of availability, capacity and rentability.

Europcar will become a cornerstone of the mobility platform. It provides advanced fleet management capabilities as well as a strong network of stations at major airports, railway stations and important city locations. Together with its dedicated team, it was therefore the Group’s first choice for a speedy ramp-up of its platform.

Customers in Vienna will be able to experience the first pilot services from the fourth quarter of this year. Hamburg will follow shortly after that in the first quarter of 2023.

Step 2: Bring the platform to an entirely new level with autonomous vehicles

Once autonomous vehicles will be added to the fleet, the mobility platform will appeal to even more private and corporate customers. Prospects for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Transport as a Service (TaaS) are described by VW as very promising in the coming years. Furthermore, the operation of the platform will become even more efficient and profitable as vehicles can automatically be moved between locations depending on demand and much more.

With pilot projects in Munich and Hamburg, the Volkswagen Group is currently testing the first autonomous ID. Buzz and plans to implement similar autonomous driving projects in other major cities in Europe, China and the USA. In 2025, Volkswagen will provide its first commercial autonomous mobility service in Europe, shortly followed by the USA.

Europcar Mobility Group consists of several well-known brands

The Europcar Mobility Group is already a major player in mobility markets. The group offers a wide range of car and van rental services – be it for a few hours, a few days, a week, a month or more. The group’s five major brands are: Europcar – the European leader of car rental and light commercial vehicle rental, Goldcar,InterRent, Ubeeqo and Buchbinder. Europcar Mobility Group delivers its mobility solutions worldwide through a network in over 140 countries.

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