When it comes to cars, the letter M might stir up images of high-performance BMWs, but Volvo wants drivers to associate it with another word: Mobility. The Swedish carmaker said Wednesday that it will launch a new app-based car-sharing service in its home country and the U.S. next year.
Similar to other premium car-sharing programs such as BMW’s ReachNow, Daimler’s Car2Go, and Cadillac’s all-encompassing BOOK service, M will allow users to find and reserve vehicles in their area as needed, offering up a range of Volvo vehicles for use. Where M hopes to set itself apart is in its personalization options, using learning technology to gain insight on users’ needs and wants and adjusting offerings accordingly.
This isn’t Volvo’s first foray into the car-sharing scene, however, as the company has operated Sunfleet, the largest car-sharing service in Sweden for 20 years. Sunfleet currently manages about half a million annual transactions and a fleet of 1,700 vehicles. The new overarching M services will be available to all current Sunfleet customers.
It’s no surprise that car companies continue to launch these sharing services, as it gives them in-depth insight to how non-traditional car owners use vehicles, and how often they need them. Industry experts and auotomaker executives alike see autonomous car-sharing as the mobility solution of the future, especially with urban populations continuing to expand and public transit options becoming increasingly taxed.
Development of the M service will take place in Sweden, and a beta version will go live this fall, with a full rollout scheduled for the spring of 2019.
-- by Brian Leon, for Internet Brands Automotive