Volkswagen Group and on-demand mobility provider Gett, said they have the cornerstone for a partnership at a kick-off event at the DRIVE Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin.

For the VW Group, this marks the first substantial step in the transition from car making to structuring and providing integrated, sustainable mobility. Last week, the Group announced a US$300m investment in global ride hailing provider Gett, paving the way to new approaches to mobility.

Chairman of the board of management, Matthias Müller, stressed the importance of the partnership, noting: “The ride hailing market doesn’t just promise high growth rates for Volkswagen, it also has a big strategic relevance. Ride hailing will be at the centre of our new ‘mobility on-demand’ business, which we are building up as the second pillar alongside the classic automobile business.

“Our investment in Gett gives us instant access to a service which people all over the world can benefit from.”

Müller added Gett technology already contains algorithms accurate in predicting consumers’ need for on-demand transportation.  Based on that technology, Gett and the VW Group will work closely together to gain better understanding of users’ mobility needs in cities and to offer tailor-made solutions.

They will also explore areas of cooperation involving autonomous driving.

VW’s global presence will help accelerate the pace and strength of Gett’s international business. Founder and CEO Shahar Waiser said: “This is a great strategic partnership, giving us access to 100m Volkswagen automobile customers.

“We already provide the quickest, safest, most reliable on-demand mobility solution. Together with Volkswagen, we can further add to our range of products and services.”

At VW, the joint growth strategy is to be driven by a team led by Ole Harms, head of new business and mobility. “We aim to establish ourselves side by side with Gett as the clear European leader in the ride hailing market,” said Harms.

“The new strategic partnership marks the point where the Volkswagen Group starts taking an active part in shaping the future of mobility.  This is not just about linking up individual services, but about creating an integrated mobility ecosystem centered on people and the environment.”

VW says it plans to offer attractive terms on its cars for Gett drivers. Special package offers will pool various costs such as purchase or finance as well as the necessary insurance and servicing.  Alongside brands such as Volkswagen, ŠKODA and SEAT, a chauffeur service featuring premium brands, such as Audi and Porsche, is also being considered.

The two companies announced Gett’s market launch in Germany and other countries across Europe.  Gett services will then be on the roads of large cities in Germany such as Berlin from the first half of 2017.

The VW Group said it intends to generate a substantial share of sales revenue from innovative mobility services by 2025.

Müller is to present the new Group strategy in the second half of June.