VW Group launches new mobility services company

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The Volkswagen Group (VW) has become the latest auto maker to transform from being purely a manufacturer of vehicles into a ‘mobility services’ company, with the launch of its new Moia standalone business.

Announced at the TechCrunch Disrupt technology event in London (December 5-6, 2016), with Moia, the automaker is systematically driving forward its transformation into a globally leading provider of sustainable mobility. The automotive industry is undergoing rapid change; alongside the traditional automobile business, innovative, digitally networked mobility services promise a high growth dynamic, and with its new business, Europe’s largest auto maker intends to generate a substantial share of its sales revenue from Moia by 2025. The VW Group’s new company, which will be headquartered in Berlin, Germany, will begin operating with a team of around 50, with this number growing fast up to the end of 2017.

A further important location for Moia will be Hamburg, where earlier in the autumn VW and the city agreed a three-year strategic mobility partnership to make urban mobility more environmentally-friendly, safer, more reliable and more efficient. The findings from this partnership will also be incorporated in future Moia projects in Europe. As part of the VW Group, MOIA can harness the strengths and infrastructure of the other 12 brands, including Audi, SEAT, Skoda, and Porsche. The management team of Moia is made up of Ole Harms (CEO), Dr Frank Dilger (CFO), and Robert Henrich (COO), who will take up his post on January 1, 2017. An Advisory Committee chaired by Thomas Sedran, head of group strategy at VW, will support Moia’s leadership team.

The biggest potential for Moia as its first step will be in ride hailing via a smartphone application, providing individual mobility without users having to own a car. VW has already opened the way for new mobility concepts with its stake in Gett (below right), one of the world’s leading ride hailing providers. Gett app users can instantly book on-demand transportation, delivery, and logistics, in more than 100 cities worldwide.

Moia is also focusing on its second major area, which will be the pooling business. The company’s goal is to set up its own on-demand pooling services via app, also known as ‘connected commuting’. The objective is holistic transport systems that make individual and public transport more effective, thus avoiding unnecessary journeys, and optimizing use of the existing road infrastructure. The first pilot projects in this field are scheduled to begin in 2017.

“Moia will help us gain a deeper understanding of new forms of mobility and how to make them even more attractive in future, to offer a much broader scope than at present, and to tailor these services to suit very wide-ranging needs,” explained Matthias Müller, VW’s CEO. “Even though not everyone will still own a car in future, Moia can help make everyone a customer of our company in some way or another.”

VW’s strategy head, Sedran, noted, “In the world’s major urban areas, there is an ever-stronger trend away from owning a vehicle towards shared mobility, as well as mobility on demand.”

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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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