Embattled German car maker Volkswagen Group, who last month confirmed it will cut up to 30,000 jobs globally has today announced it is entering the ‘urban mobility’ space with the launch of a new spin-off company, MOIA. With its reputation damaged from ‘dieselgate’ and having accepted a $15bn fine in June for cheating emissions tests, executives made this announcement today at Tech Crunch Disrupt Conference in London as it attempts to recover from the biggest scandal in its history. The launch of a new ‘mobility services company’ they hope marks a shift towards becoming a leader in sustainable transport that begins with a focus on ride-sharing apps and car-sharing and then potentially grows to securing a leading position in the development of electric cars and self-driving technologies. The business, which will be headquartered in Berlin aims to generate a “substantial share” of its sales revenue from this new business by 2025.
The initial aims appear to be modest in scope, though with lofty ambitions – the MOIA team claim they aren’t “just another car-sharing company or transportation lab” and want to understand the entire transport system and develop solutions that “make cities more beautiful, more liveable and safer – not only for the wealthy elite, but in a way that is affordable for everyone.”
SmartRail World was in the audience today as Ole Harms ( @MobilityShaper ), CEO of MOIA announced that; “MOIA is a stand-alone company under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, and will develop and market its own mobility services either independently or in partnership with cities and existing transport systems. In parallel, the Group brands will continue to move forward with their own services. Our sights are set on becoming one of the global top players for mobility services in the medium term. To achieve that we will be seeking to attract the best minds and technology start-ups.”
At the announcement, Ole Harms shared the stage with Gett a ride-hailing app, a start-up that connects customers with taxi drivers (and not just the part-timers that Uber and others does) with whom VW invested $300 million in May. They are already working together in Moscow, where they are offering attractive vehicle packages for Gett drivers.
At the same time, MOIA ( @MOIAmobility ) is also focusing on the second major area, namely the pooling business. The company’s goal is to set up its own on-demand pooling services via app – also known as connected commuting. This approach concentrates on cross-boundary transport 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. 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”, Matthias Müller, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, added in a prepared statement.