As part of its plan to significantly expand the mobility services business operations, Daimler Financial Services AG (DFS) said on Jan. 21 that it has created a subsidiary known as Daimler Mobility Services GmbH. DFS is responsible for the provision of mobility services, including car2go and the moovel smartphone app, within the Daimler Group.

The GmbH headquarters are in Stuttgart.

It is estimated that the number of car sharing customers in Europe alone could increase from roughly 700,000 currently to nearly 15 million by 2020, according to Daimler. “In view of the enormous market potential for innovative mobility services, our goal is to break the 100 million euro mark for revenue within the next 24 months,” said Daimler Financial Services CEO Klaus Entenmann.

In order to ensure the optimal alignment and coordination of all services, Daimler said it wanted to consolidate its mobility services — namely car2go and the moovel app services. “Combining programs such as car2go and moovel into one company enables us to offer customers attractive and connected mobility services from a single source,” said Robert Henrich, former head of car2go and now managing director of Daimler Mobility Services GmbH.

Projections for car2go

According to Daimler, its car2go mobility concept became profitable at various locations at the end of 2012, which was sooner than expected. “We’re very pleased to have reached break-even in three cities already,” Henrich said.

By the end of 2011, around 60,000 customers had registered with car2go; since then this figure has risen to 275,000, Daimler said, adding that the number of car2go customers is expected to exceed half a million by the end of this year.

car2go is available in six cities in Germany, and has more than 100,000 customers there. That is the largest number of registered users in the country’s segment for flexible car sharing services. car2go is now being offered in 18 cities around the world and will expand its service to additional cities throughout the course of this year.

The number of available car2go vehicles will also increase from 6,100 to more than 10,000 by the end of 2013, Daimler said.

car2go currently employs around 250 people.

Daimler also said that it plans to move car2go into the commercial fleets. “We want to expand the car2go concept for fully automated rentals to include the commercial fleet management sector,” Henrich said.

Daimler said that car sharing for company vehicle fleets helps both the respective firms and their employees because it increases fleet capacity utilization and enables employees to privately use available cars from the pool at a relatively low cost in the evening or on weekends. A respective pilot project will be launched this year.

moovel to Expand to New Cities

“moovel was the second mobility concept to be developed and tested by business innovation after car2go,” said Wilfried Steffen, head of business innovation at Daimler AG. “Now that it has been absorbed into the new Daimler Mobility Services GmbH, the stage is set for the successful expansion of moovel. Our objective is to offer customers the best options for traveling from point A to point B.”

To this end, the mobility platform moovel, which has been tested in pilot projects in Stuttgart and Berlin since 2012, will be launched in numerous additional cities in 2013. With the smartphone app, customers can compare mobility options such as car2go, taxis, ridesharing services and local public transport in terms of various parameters, e.g. trip duration and costs. (More can be read here about the moovel app.)

In the future, moovel customers will be able to find their preferred mobility option with the app and make all the necessary reservations and payments in a one-stop shopping system.

Investing in Parking Solutions

Along with the expansion of car2go and moovel, Daimler Mobility Services GmbH is also working on a parking solution. “We believe there’s great potential for intelligent parking solutions in urban areas,” Henrich said. “New technologies are now available that can make parking space searches and reservations much easier. Here as well, we want to support our customers to the greatest extent possible with innovative solutions for intelligent, cross-linked mobility.”

As part of its effort to achieve this goal, Daimler acquired a financial interest in GottaPark Inc., which is headquartered in San Francisco, at the end of December 2012. GottaPark customers can already reserve parking spaces online from a pool of more than 300,000 parking spots in eight U.S. cities (San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Houston, Boston, Chicago and Miami), as well as in Vancouver, Canada.

Since 2007 GottaPark has been working to make parking in cities easier. Daimler’s minority interest in the company also includes plans for strategic cooperation projects. An initial pilot project is scheduled to be launched in Europe in 2013.

Daimler also has a stake in various other mobility service providers including the myTaxi smartphone app, and has an interest in tiramizoo — a platform for urban courier services. Within the framework of car2go, the Daimler Group also cooperates with the rental company Europcar, as well as local governments and numerous public transport companies.

Related news: car2go Expands to Include Stuttgart, Germany