French bank Credit Agricole weighing plans to offer car-sharing financial services in Germany. It comes especially as market offers and opportunities are increasing, challenging incumbent players. The French bank’s consumer finance has been pushing mobility revenues.
The French bank’s consumer finance arm has been in a push to increase mobility-related revenues from its car leasing joint venture with Stellantis and other partnerships as well as from its existing car financing and car rental services. “We are testing car-sharing in smaller towns in France with a population of up to 30,000. If that succeeds we will take the concept also to Germany,” Stephane Priami, the head of Credit Agricole’s consumer finance unit, was quoted as saying.
The idea was to focus on towns within driving distance of larger cities to put them within reach for customers without a car, he added. The German membership-based car-sharing market is undergoing a transformation as Volkswagen is selling its all-electric car-sharing unit WeShare to Berlin-based Miles Mobility. Germany’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW sold their car-sharing venture Share Now to Stellantis. Car rental firm Sixt has branched out into car-sharing.
VW exits the car-sharing business
In early November, Volkswagen said it was selling its WeShare unit, which offers around 2,000 all-electric cars for hire in Hamburg and Berlin, to German company Miles Mobility. “We made it very clear in 2020 that we didn’t think the [service] would be profitable for us,” Christian Dahlheim, head of VW group sales, said in a call with reporters. Rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW agreed on last May to sell their Share Now joint venture to US-European carmaker Stellantis, after they experienced lower-than-expected interest in car-sharing services.
As part of the deal with VW, Miles Mobility will order more than 10,000 all-electric vehicles from VW’s stable of brands, including Audi and Seat cars. Miles Mobility already runs a fleet of 9,000 vehicles across eight German cities, including Bonn, Cologne, and Munich, and two cities in Belgium. “With a strong partner to operate the fleet and with vehicles from various Volkswagen Group brands, car sharing will become available to an even broader spectrum of customers,” Dahlheim said in a statement. German automotive expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer said VW’s decision to sell its WeShare service showed that car-sharing remained a “niche market” that carried “considerable risks of losses”.
Miles Mobility for its part said it aimed “to become the leading car-sharing platform in Europe” and welcomed the addition of VW’s zero-emission cars to its fleet. “The electrification of our fleet is a cornerstone of the Miles strategy towards sustainable urban transport,” it added.