Free2Move gives PSA an opportunity to start building a base in the U.S. before launching sales.
European auto behemoth Stellantis N.V. announced Tuesday its Free2Move car sharing business agreed to acquire European car sharing service Share Now, a joint venture formed by Mercedes-Benz Mobility Group and BMW Group in 2019. The acquisition cost was not disclosed.
The agreement dramatically expands Free2Move in Europe as a major mobility player, bringing 14 European cities and 10,000 vehicles to Free2Move’s existing fleet of 2,500 vehicles in Paris and Madrid. The deal brings more than 3.4 million customers to Free2move’s existing 2 million users, according to Stellantis.
Free2Move customers can rent a car for a few minutes, a few hours or a few days. If they keep the vehicle longer, the price automatically adjusts.
“Integrating Share Now’s strong position in major European cities will allow our customers to gain greater access to a wider range of services to satisfy their varied mobility needs,” said Brigitte Courtehoux, Free2Move CEO, in a statement. “Equally important, this acquisition will also accelerate our profitable growth. We are now a step closer to achieving our goal of expanding Free2Move’s worldwide presence to 15 million active users by 2030.”
The deal contributes to Stellantis’ “Dare Forward 2030” plan to realize mobility service net revenues of $3 billion, or €2.8 billion, in 2030, increasing from nearly $740 million, or €700 million, in 2025.
Stateside, Free2Move’s car-sharing service is available in Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas as well as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento, California. Free2Move intends to have fully electrified fleets in Europe by 2030 and in the U.S. by 2035.
Just the latest Free2Move deal
This isn’t Free2Move’s first acquisition — not by a long shot. It recently announced the acquisition of Opel Rent, accelerating its growth strategy in Germany and Austria and pushing the transition from renter to mobility provider. Meanwhile, it accelerated its car-sharing expansion in the United States, with service now available in Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas.
The acquisition of Opel Rent transformed its 1,000 agencies from vehicle rentals to mobility providers. And, in 2020, Free2Move bought vehicle rental service TravelCar with more than 1 million users in more than 60 countries.
Free2Move was launched in 2017 by Groupe PSA.
Competition from other automakers
But Stellantis isn’t alone in its pursuit of mobility service revenue. Volkswagen AG. also looking to profit from mobility services, is in the process of acquiring Europcar for $3.4 billion. Europcar operates more than 350,000 vehicles in more than 140 countries.
Other automakers, such as General Motors, are looking to perfect autonomous vehicles as part of their mobility solution. GM’s first autonomous shuttles from its Cruise subsidiary are expected be ready for public streets in January 2023. Similarly, in December 2021, Toyota partnered with May Mobility to begin autonomous vehicle shuttle service in Fishers, Indiana that operates along a three-mile fixed-route loop with nine designated stops.
In November, the company said it planned to invest $3.5 million five-year lease for exclusive on-campus facilities at the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan, along with another $2.5 million investment for increased use of its testing resources. Toyota seeks to develop automated and driver assistance technology at the site.
These are just some of the initiatives currently underway.