Volkswagen moves towards becoming a mobility provider by partnering with ride hailing service Gett

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The Volkswagen Group (VW) and the on-demand mobility provider, Gett, laid the cornerstone for their strategic partnership at a kick-off event at the Drive Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin. This marks the first substantial step in VW’s transition from being solely an automaker to a provider of integrated mobility services, a move that is being adopted by the majority of the world’s leading car manufacturers.

Last week, VW announced a US$300m strategic investment in Gett, a smartphone-based ride hailing provider, paving the way to new approaches to mobility for the automaker. Gett is an Israeli-based startup that is currently live in the UK, USA, Russia and Israel, and is available in more than 60 cities worldwide, including, Moscow, New York, and London, where more than half of the city’s black cabs run on Gett.

As well as ride-hailing, the company offers full on-demand business mobility services, including transportation, delivery and logistics, and is used by over 4,000 leading corporations worldwide. Having already raised US$520m in venture funding, VW’s global presence will help accelerate the pace and strength of Gett’s international business.

VW is keen to gain access to Gett’s technology, which already contains algorithms that are incredibly accurate in predicting consumers’ needs for on-demand transportation. Based on that technology, Gett and VW Group will work closely together to gain an even better understanding of users’ mobility needs in cities, and to offer tailor-made services, in which they will also explore areas of cooperation involving autonomous driving. VW plans to offer attractive terms on its automobiles for Gett drivers, with special packages offered that will conveniently 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 special chauffeur service featuring the VW Group’s premium brands, such as Audi and Porsche, is also being considered. As key milestones in their future expansion, the two companies announced Gett’s market launch in Germany and other countries across Europe, with its services available in the big German cities from the first half of 2017.

Matthias Müller, chairman of VW’s Board, stressed the importance of the strategic partnership, “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 center 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.”

Ole Harms, VW’s head of new business & mobility, commented, “We aim to establish ourselves, side by side with Gett, as the clear European leader in the ride hailing market. 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.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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