Volvo: M for Mobility
Volvo, the Swedish car manufacturer has launched their new mobility venture, called M. Despite the lack of specific details on this venture, it can be safely assumed that one of the main products offered will be a ride-sharing service using Volvo vehicles.
According to the press release, M is a "new brand from Volvo Car Mobility, a wholly-owned and stand-alone entity within Volvo Car Group that aspires to deliver a better alternative to car ownership for urban and metroconsumers". As Gothenburg, Volvo's homeland, is widely considered the birthplace of the Mobility-as-a-Service concept, it would not be surprising to see further projects by M harnessing the power of private and public sector partnerships.
Although this move does not come as a surprise, given the current state of the mobility space, the way Volvo has chosen to describe this new venture is quite indicative of their views on the future of car ownership. The homepage of M features a quote by Bodil Eriksson, CEO of Volvo Car Mobility, in which she describes the process of giving up her own car and relying on mobility services as "frustrating, but also liberating".
The vision of M is based on three pillars, according to their website: moving freely, moving meaningfully, and moving sustainably. Although the "freely" and "meaningfully" dimensions are described in a rather vague way, "moving sustainably" suggests that one M vehicle will remove five personal vehicles from the streets, thus "making cities liveable again".
Volvo is rather candid about this project being in its prenatal stages - the homepage includes a call to join the firm which reads: "We’re in the early stages of developing a completely new on-demand car service, and we’re looking for test drivers". Furthermore, the focus of the minimal homepage, apart from conveying the general vision of M, is recruitment. Approximately half of the homepage is used to invite people to join the team or become a partner.
Interestingly, Volvo only launched their own subscription-based ownership programme four months ago. Their move was replicated by a number of car manufacturers - including Mercedes Benz (Collection) and BMW (Access). It now remains to be seen whether other car manufacturers will, once again, follow the Gothenburg-based pioneer.