Mobilization, Renault’s weapon to solidify its position in the uncertain field of mobility

Renault’s new mobility plan. The French car group is once again trying to structure its service offering with a bespoke packaging plan, and its mobility subsidiary was set up in January 2021 when the Renaulution strategic plan was announced.

“Mobilize inverts the classic equation of the auto industry by starting from services that meet customer needs to reach the product,” Renault explains in a press release published Tuesday.

Led by Clotilde Delbus, this entity wants to attack the unsolvable issue of the end of car ownership in favor of uses, an activity that has not yet found an economic model, apart from traditional long-term rentals. It is a matter of providing mobility solutions but also services, with the car as the handle of this new economic model. Vehicle as a Service (VaaS) is Renault’s response to the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), which refers to applications that bring together mobility operators to deliver a multimedia experience.

Consequently, Renault will design custom models for this project. It will be 100% electric and will meet specifications that should allow extensive and common use. This point is important to reduce maintenance costs, and is a real stumbling block in previous experiences (Autolib for example…). Another model, Limo, will be dedicated to the BtoB activity of VTC platforms and taxis.

Moreover, this is the sole originality of Mobilize, this BtoB approach inherited from technology acquisitions by RCI Bank (Karhoo, Bipi, Glide and so-called DMS senders such as Yuso and Iccabi). It will be a question of proposing a set of services for mobility operators, the VTC platform, taxis, online bookings …

The highly profitable RCI bank becomes Mobilize Financial

However, the other main pillar of the mobilization strategy remains the so-called leasing activity. Thus this branch gradually acquired the highly profitable subsidiary finance company, RCI Bank, which renamed itself Mobilize Financial Services. The latter is accelerating into financial engineering by expanding its financing offer, particularly through LOAs (lease-to-purchase contracts), but will expand this offer with insurance and financing products.

Finally, Mobilize will provide services grouped around charging stations by making it easier to access different networks. Finally, a maintenance and repair offer will be presented … Mobilize will go as far as to offer to renew vehicles.

The new branch of Renault wants to keep pace with the astounding 80% growth of the operating leasing market and aims to lease 1 million cars in 2030 and 200,000 subscriptions, thus representing 20% ​​of the group’s sales. The group also expects an operating margin from 2025.

A fairly classic model

But the Mobilize project could eventually channel most of its growth into leasing activities. According to Renault forecasts, this will represent a fleet of one million vehicles in 2030 compared to 350 thousand in 2021. The activities of mobility operators should also experience very strong growth with 150 thousand to 200 thousand cars in 2030 compared to 8 thousand cars today, but it will still be High School. In addition, the first business model is already well established and generates strong profit margins, while the second one still seeks to improve the cost structure which is considered too high.

Finally, Mobilize will have to take on a new giant with a somewhat similar model (hire, service and mobility operator) after the acquisition of Share Now by Free2Move, a subsidiary of Stellantis, last week. The new entity now has nearly 5 million customers.

new try

This isn’t the first time Renault has tried to structure its Mobility offering. In the middle of 2010, the French manufacturer tasked its financing subsidiary (already) with RCI Bank with the task of building an ecosystem for start-ups around alternative mobility. This doubles as the acquisitions, including the more exciting and demanding VTC Marcel platform that requires a ride in the Zoé. In 2019, the group launched Renault MAI (Mobility as an Industry) to review this strategy. But the structure did not survive the fall of Thierry Bollore in November of the same year. Hadi Zablit, head of coalition-wide mobility services, who was robbed by Carlos Ghosn of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is also thanked.

However, the arrival of Luca de Meo refreshes the group’s interest in mobility. The former president of Seat is convinced that the manufacturer must take back control of the profession. By appointing the head of Mobilize, the second man in the group, Clotilde Delbos, the importance of this branch to Renault’s growth ambitions is demonstrated. After reselling VTC Marcel at the end of 2020, Renault needed to find a strategic roadmap in terms of mobility.