Stellantis buys car-sharing business from BMW and Mercedes
Stellantis has agreed to buy the Share Now car sharing business from BMW and Mercedes-Benz as the two German groups focus on the software part of their mobility alliance.
Formed last year through the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot maker PSA, Stellantis wants to position itself as a global leader in car-sharing, using this step announced on Tuesday to expand its existing business in the area.
The deal reflects different approaches by carmakers who are trying to tap new sources of revenues beyond selling vehicles, most notably in the developing area of mobility services.
Brigitte Courtehoux, who heads Stellantis' mobility division Free2Move, said the deal was part of the group's plans to grow net revenues of that business to €700m (roughly R11.8bn) in 2025 and to €2.8bn (roughly R47.2bn) in 2030.
“We will really accelerate in terms of revenues,” she said.
Stellantis said the deal would allow Free2Move to add 14 major European cities and 10,000 vehicles to its current 2,500-strong car sharing fleet, gaining over 3.4-million customers.
“We're at break even since mid-2020, we know how to be profitable in this business,” Courtehoux said.
She added the Free2Move fleet would not turn 100% Stellantis but said “step by step we'll have more and more Stellantis cars in it”.
No financial details were provided for the transaction. Italian daily La Repubblica said it was worth around €100m (roughly R1.7bn).
Share Now retreated from the North American market in 2019 in response to high maintenance costs and what the companies then described as the “volatile state of the global mobility landscape”.
BMW CEO Oliver Zipse in late 2020 fuelled speculation of a reorganisation of the mobility services alliance with Mercedes-Benz when he flagged the option of bringing in new partners or a possible partial sale.
By selling the division, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will focus on the two remaining parts of their mobility co-operation: Free Now, an app that enables the booking of cars, taxis, e-scooters and e-bikes, and the charging infrastructure booking app Charge Now.
“The new orientation enables us to scale our activities faster and thus to achieve further profitable growth in the shortest possible time,” said Rainer Feurer, BMW's head of corporate investments.