Stellantis buys car-sharing company from BMW and Mercedes

FRANKFURT/MILAN (Reuters) – Stellantis (STLA.MI) has agreed to buy the car-sharing business of BMW (BMWG.DE) and Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE) as the two German groups focus on a program that is part of their mobility alliance.

Formed last year through the merger of Fiat Chrysler and maker Peugeot PSA, Stellantis wants to position itself as the world’s leading car-sharing company, using the move announced Tuesday to expand its existing business in the region.

The deal reflects different approaches to automakers trying to tap into new sources of revenue other than selling cars, most notably in developing mobility services.

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Brigitte Korthox, who heads Stellantis Free2move’s mobility division, said the deal is part of the group’s plans to increase net revenue for this business to 700 million euros ($735 million) in 2025 and to 2.8 billion euros in 2030.

“We’re going to really accelerate in terms of revenue,” she said.

Stellantis said the deal would allow Free2move to add 14 major European cities and 10,000 vehicles to its existing fleet of 2,500 vehicles, and gain more than 3.4 million customers.

“We’ve been on a break since mid-2020, we know how to make money in this business,” said Courthux.

She added that the Free2Move fleet would not convert to 100% Stellantis but said “step by step we will have more and more Stellantis”.

No financial details of the transaction were provided. The Italian daily La Repubblica said it was worth around 100 million euros.

Milan-listed shares in Stelantis were up 2.1 percent by 0730 GMT.

Share Now pulled back from the North American market in 2019 in response to rising maintenance costs and what companies then described as the “volatile state of the global mobility landscape.”

BMW CEO Oliver Zipps in late 2020, raised speculation of a reorganization of the Mobility Services alliance with Mercedes-Benz when he indicated the option of bringing in new partners or a possible partial sale.

With the sale of the division, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will focus on the two remaining parts of their mobility collaboration: Free Now, an app that allows booking cars, taxis, e-scooters and e-bikes, and a freight infrastructure booking app Charge Now.

“The new direction allows us to expand our activities faster and thus achieve more profitable growth in the shortest possible time,” said Rainer Feurer, Head of Corporate Investments at BMW. (1 dollar = 0.9519 euros)

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Additional reporting by Christoph Stitz, Kristina Aman and Giulio Biovacari; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Keith Weir

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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