PSA Spins Off Free2Move Mobility Unit
PSA has cut loose its 4-year-old Free2Move mobility services enterprise, turning it into a freestanding company that aims to become a full-range provider of mobility assistance.
Free2Move helps users arrange short-term car rentals in 150 countries (including the U.S.), find parking spaces in 65 countries and locate electric vehicle charging facilities throughout Europe.
As its own company, Paris-based Free2Move fully integrates TravelCar, an 8-year-old parking services company that offers carsharing and parking services on five continents. PSA has collaborated with TravelCar since taking a stake in the company in 2016. PSA acquired TravelCar last year.
Their latest product, Free2Move Rent, debuted last year as an all-digital, short-term car rental service that offers Citroen, DS, Opel and Peugeot brands through a single platform. The business currently operates in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain and is expanding into nine more countries by year-end.
Free2Move has 150 employees worldwide. PSA says the company is now developing a single platform that integrates car-share, EV charging, parking and fleet management products. The aim is to enable customers to access all services through a single smartphone app.
The Push to Pass strategic plan PSA unveiled four years ago targets €100 million ($118 million) in annual profit from mobility services by next year.
PSA CEO Carlos Tavares says Free2Move grew its revenue 23% in the first half of this year and boosted its active customers 25% to 1.2 million. He also says FCA is “step by step making money with these activities.”
Tavares hasn’t revealed the numbers behind his assertion. But if PSA has figured out how to avoid losing money on car- and ride-sharing services, it’s well ahead of most others that are trying to do the same.
Why It Matters
The market’s biggest example of the struggle to turn a profit on mobility services is Share Now, the 50:50 venture finalized by BMW and Daimler last year.
The companies declared at the time that they would invest $1.1 billion in the venture in pursuit of the same goals: a single, app-based, global array of EV charging, ride-hailing, parking, car-sharing and multi-modal services.
But by the end of the year, Share Now was backtracking. The company has since pulled out of markets in North America, Belgium, Italy and the U.K., citing high operating costs and “infrastructure complexities.”
Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. says it will abandon development work on autonomous commercial trucks to focus on self-driving cars.
Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand plans to launch its own car-sharing service next year and is developing an integrated software control program to help coordinate vehicle sensors and autonomous driving technologies.
Ride-hailing giant Lyft Inc. is partnering with Hoffman Estates, Ill-based CDK Global Inc. to help improve customer transportation to and from dealership service centers.