Volvo Cars has launched a mobility platform called “M” in the US and Sweden, as the company seeks a place next to mobility giants such as Daimler and the BMW Group.
Volvo said the M app will provide customers with “on-demand access to cars and services”. Motor Finance understands the base form of the service is a car club, akin to Zipcar and Daimler’s Car2go. Volvo has been operating car club Sunfleet in Sweden since 1998, and M is intended to expand its mobility footprint beyond the country.
Volvo added it was developing proprietary learning technology to tailor the service to each customers’ needs, in order to take the service beyond the view-select-drive model of current car clubs.
“The services currently available mainly offer alternatives to a taxi or public transit,” said Bodil Eriksson, chief executive of Volvo Car Mobility. “We’re focused on the way people use the cars they own, which sets us apart. We aim to provide a real alternative to that experience.
“We see the opportunity to offer a premium experience.”
Volvo’s vision suggests more tailored vehicles could become available through M in the future, available to pick up at the user’s time of convenience or delivered to their location. Most car clubs’ fleets are limited to a small selection of models, usually city cars or light commercial vehicles.
Volvo has been aggressive in its promotion of alternatives to car ownership and leases. It was part of the first of wave of carmakers who launched car subscription packages in the second half of last year, and has earmarked car subscription as the exclusive route to the European market for its Polestar performance range.
Before the launch of M, the Chinese-owned, Sweden-based company had made few forays of note in the mobility space, dominated by Daimler and BMW, who plan to merge their offering.
Other European brands have also made inroads in mobility. Renault and Groupe PSA have been building their own dedicated platforms, either through acquisition sprees or in-house development, and this week, both unveiled plans for a car-sharing scheme in Paris.
Just a few hours later, Volkswagen said it would launch electric car-sharing schemes in Germany, the fiercest European market for alternative mobility.
Outside the OEM space, ALD Automotive, Societe Generale’s fleet arm, has recently partnered with Finland’s MaaS Global to gain a presence on the latter’s multi-modal transit app.