Volvo Cars has taken the lead on variety of changes within the automotive industry in the past decade or so, including autonomous driving, electric vehicle development and other mobility-oriented technologies and services.
The company is adding to that legacy with M, a new brand that will expand the company’s global mobility operations by providing dependable, on-demand access to cars and services through an intuitive app.
“Volvo Cars is becoming more than just a car company. We recognize that urban consumers are rethinking traditional car ownership. M is part of our answer. We are evolving to become a direct-to-consumer services provider under our new mission ‘Freedom to Move’,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars president and chief executive.
In many ways, M covers familiar ground with car-sharing options using a smart phone, much like GM’s Maven, BMW’s Car2Go and others, but the goal is to be much more — and soon.
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“The services currently available mainly offer alternatives to a taxi or public transit,” said Bodil Eriksson, CEO of Volvo Car Mobility. “We’re focused on the way people use the cars they own, which sets us apart.
“We aim to provide a real alternative to that experience. It should enable us to live life on our terms, getting things done and maximizing precious time. We see the opportunity to offer a premium experience.’”
The goal is to offer a much more customized service for users. M is developing proprietary learning technology that asks users about their specific needs instead of merely informing them where they can pick up a car. The service learns about the user’s needs, preferences and habits, personalizing the customer relationship. It will debut in Sweden and the U.S. in the spring of 2019.
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Fortunately, M is not some simple hastily thrown together group to try and meet a need. Volvo’s offered car-sharing services through its Sunfleet operations in Sweden for two decades. More than 500,000 time each year, using a fleet of 1,700 vehicles, users find their way to run errands, take in a move or enjoy a short trip out of town using Sunfleet.
Sunfleet will be rolled into M, and the service will be made available to existing customers.
“Mobility is undergoing a fundamental transformation and Volvo Cars is leading that change. The launch of M creates new sources of revenue for Volvo Cars and will be integral to the company’s ambition to build more than 5 million direct consumer relationships by the middle of the next decade,” Samuelsson said.
(To see more about Volvo’s goal of half of sales to be EVs by 2025, Click Here.)
The new service will be based Stockholm, Sweden, where the company is already conducted extensive development and testing. A broader Beta test will take place this autumn,” said Eriksson. No pricing or other details were revealed about M, only that more information will be released later this year.