Like Daimler and BMW, now Volkswagen positions itself in the car-sharing space. It will launch its ‘Quicar‘ car-sharing service in Hannover, Germany on November 16th with about 200 Volkswagen cars and initially about 50 stations where users can pick up the cars.
Costs run at about 0.20 euros per minute with a minimum of 6 euros. Volkswagen has developed their own telematics software and provides mobile phone apps for booking the cars.
This is an important move for the company and an acknowledgement of the looming threats to the established ownership-oriented business model which currently dominates the automotive industry. Car-sharing is viewed more and more positively among the younger generation, but the more important reason (though not yet explicitly stated) may be that autonomous cars are on the horizon. Once they are introduced, they will greatly increase the appeal of car-sharing and significantly lower total mobility costs for car-sharing customers. Car-sharing with autonomous cars is the business model of the future for the automotive industry: Volkswagen is making the first steps to prepare for this tectonic shift.