A new plan for Renault’s mobility support company The French autonomous group is again trying to build its service offer with a plan dedicated to Mobilize, the dynamics branch of which was created in January 2021 when the Renaulution Strategic Plan was announced.
“Mobilize reverses the classic equation of the automotive industry, starting with services that meet the needs of customers to reach their products,” Renault explained in a press release issued on Tuesday.
Led by Clotilde Delbos, the entity seeks to attack the insoluble question of car ownership termination in favor of use, an activity that has yet to find its economic model, in addition to the very traditional long-term rent. While relying on cars as the basis of this new economic model, it is a matter of providing mobility solutions as well as services. “Vehicles as a Service” (VaaS) is Renault’s response to the concept of mobility as a service (MaaS), referring to applications that bring together mobility operators to deliver a multimodal experience.
Thus, Renault will design a dedicated model for this project. They will be 100% electrical and will meet special features that will allow sharing and intensive use. This point is very important for limiting the cost of maintenance, a real barrier to past experience (for example autolib …). Another model will be dedicated to a BTOB activity for limo, VTC and taxi platforms.
This is the only originality of Mobilize, this BtoB method is inherited from the technological acquisition of RCI Bank (Karhoo, Bipi, Glide, so called DMS senders like Yuso and Iccabi). It will be a question of offering a suite of services for mobility operators, VTC platforms, taxis, online storage …
Highly profitable RCI bank becomes mobilized financial
However, other major pillars of the mobilization strategy remain so-called leasing activity. The branch thus gradually took over the highly profitable financing subsidiary, RCI Bank, which changed its name to Mobilized Financial Services. The latter expands its financing offer in financial engineering, specifically through LOAs (leases with purchase options), but will also expand this offer with insurance and financing products.
Finally, Mobilize will provide aggregate services around charging stations with access to different networks. Last brick, a maintenance and repair will be offered … Mobilize will even go so far as to offer to re-condition the vehicles.
Renault’s new branch aims to ride on the incredible 80% growth of the operational rental market and aims at one million rental cars and 200,000 subscriptions by 2030, thus representing 20% of the group’s turnover. The group also expects an operating margin from 2025.
A fairly classic model
But the mobilization project could eventually get the most out of it around leasing activities. According to Renault’s forecast, it will represent a fleet of one million vehicles in 2030, compared to 350,000 in 2021. Mobility operator activity will also grow very strongly in 2030 with 150,000 to 200,000 vehicles, second only to 8,000 today. In addition, the first business model has already established well-established and strong profit margins, while the second is still trying to optimize the cost structure, which is considered to be extremely high.
Finally, Mobilize will have to face a new giant with a fairly similar model (leasing, service and mobility operator) after the Share Now takeover by FreelanceMove, a subsidiary of Stellantis, last week. The new entity now has about 5 million subscribers.
This is not the first time Renault has tried to build its mobility offer. In the mid-2010s, the French manufacturer commissioned its financing subsidiary (already) RCI Bank to build an ecosystem of startups around alternative dynamics. This multiplies the acquisition, including the most spectacular, VTC Marcel platform needed to climb 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 Bollor in November of the same year. Hadi Jablit, head of the Alliance-level mobility service, who was victimized by Carlos Ghosn of the BCG, was also thanked.
However, the arrival of Luca de Mio revived the team’s interest in dynamism. The former boss of the seat is convinced that the manufacturer must regain control of the profession. By hiring Clotilde Delbos, the group’s number two head of Mobilize, he showed the importance of this branch in Renault’s growth ambitions. Following the resale of VTC Marcel in late 2020, Renault will need to find a strategic roadmap in terms of mobility.