Volkswagen offloads German car-sharing business for EV sales boost

  • Volkswagen's decision to offload WeShare grew out of the realization that it wouldn’t be able to improve profitability beyond 2022.
File photo of Volkswagen logo. (REUTERS)
File photo of Volkswagen logo.

Volkswagen AG is selling its WeShare car-sharing business to German startup Miles Mobility GmbH as Europe’s biggest automaker retreats from what has largely been an unprofitable industry.

Miles will integrate WeShare’s 2,000 VW-branded electric vehicles into its mostly combustion-engine fleet of 9,000 cars, the companies said Tuesday. Miles also ordered 10,000 EVs from the manufacturer, with deliveries due to begin next year.

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Carmakers including Mercedes-Benz AG and BMW AG have struggled to turn their car-sharing ventures into viable profit-makers. While Volkswagen sees about 20% of revenue coming from subscription services and other short-term mobility offerings by 2030, the WeShare business that’s operating in Germany has failed to take off.

VW’s decision to offload WeShare grew out of the realization that it wouldn’t be able to improve profitability beyond 2022, VW Financial Services Chief Executive Officer Christian Dahlheim said on a call with reporters.

Berlin-based Miles is one of the few exceptions in the industry. The startup, which is active in eight German cities and earlier this year expanded to Belgium, in 2021 broke even on sales of €47 million ($47 million).

VW’s partnership with Miles isn’t exclusive and the automaker is able offer its vehicles to other car-sharing platforms, Dahlheim said. Both companies agreed not to disclose how much Miles paid for the business.

First Published Date: 01 Nov 2022, 18:43 PM IST
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