Auto manufacturers are racing to bring self-driving capabilities to their vehicles, either developing the technology in-house from the ground up or partnering with a number of tech firms. This is widely expected to shape the future of private and public transportation, and in turn have other implications for the auto industry, like the potential to reduce car ownership in favor of autonomous taxis.
Looking to stay ahead of the game Volvo is creating a dedicated business unit focused on car sharing. The new unit will be based on Sunfleet, a car sharing service that Volvo has run since 1998 and currently has around 50,000 subscribers generating approximately 250,000 transactions in more than 50 Swedish cities.
Sunfleet is a station based service, meaning the car is parked at a certain place and you must return it there once you have finished using it. Users can register on the website and either rent a car once, sign up for a monthly subscription, or take a car for the weekend.
The new business unit will expand Sunfleet globally. It will likely offer something similar to what’s offered in Sweden, though the company says it will also introduce "an entirely new range of mobility services."
"Private car ownership will not disappear, but as a car maker we need to embrace the fact that it will reduce and change,” Volvo president and CEO Håkan Samuelsson said. "We have a proven and profitable concept in our home market which we intend to leverage as we develop a global concept."
Volvo will announce more details of its car sharing and mobility unit’s expansion in the coming months.