Renault gets really interested in new mobility
While other manufacturers are trying hesitantly new mobility solutions, Renault has dived in hard lately with Renault Mobility, driven by the group’s financial daughter, RCI Bank and Services.
Renault Mobility would never have conquered the Parisian market of car-sharing (left open by the decease of Autolib) without the innovations researched and developed by RCI Bank and Services, at the heart of the strategy trying to put the French car manufacturer in the forefront of new mobility services and solutions.
Renault made a spectacular turn end of last year. In October 2017 CEO, Carlos Ghosn, deployed the new strategic plan for the group and stressed enormously the growing importance of new mobility solutions. In fact the financial division RCI Bank and Services is thinking of this already from 2015 onward.
Big data are key
Especially in this new mobility area mastering the algorithms and processing the data are of utmost importance. Renault Mobility, the car sharing division of the manufacturer, is the perfect illustration of the role RCI Bank and Services is playing in the new strategy of Ghosn. It uses innovative techniques developed by RCI.
Renault Mobility is only the tip of the iceberg, Renault has asked its financial division to purchase companies, which are already operational in the field. “When it comes to new mobility, we have the same approach as with our normal work of financial credit”, explains Alice Altemaire, recently appointed as head of a new division ‘Services de mobilité et de l’innovation’.
“We will propose products that will be commercialized by our Alliance members, being Renault but also Nissan or Mitsubishi, in other countries”, she adds. “Our strategy is bi-level: delivering ready-made solutions to final clients (B2B), delivering innovative solutions to mobility operators (taxi companies, privately driven car transport or car sharing).
In the beginning of 2017 RCI bought the London start-up Karhoo, which tries to integrate the multiple taxi and car sharing platforms. The strategy seems to work, Karhoo actually counts 250.000 taxi or private car drivers, 100.000 more than 6 months ago. To expand the offer RCI has also bought (in November of last year) Marcel, a private driver platform.
By buying Marcel Renault also has access to Yuso, a package manager or managing platform, also called DNF, with an algorithmic approach of localization highly sought after by all sorts of taxi services. RCI can thus tighten its links with these independent partners (not Uber, that has its own DNF) as a complement of Karhoo.
The second phase
Karhoo can now exit its pilot phase and start a big commercial offensive. Marcel, on the other hand, will develop its 100% electric fleet to become one of the leaders in electric mobility. In Paris Karhoo is joining forces with the start-up incubator Numa.
New solutions from everywhere are challenged every year in a contest called Paris Citymaker confronting these new solutions with urban and demographic situations in order to judge their feasibility.
Karhoo is still lacking solutions in the car sharing environment, more specifically in the commuting segment, but RCI is now launching an experimental phase together with Karos, the leader in this segment for Île-de-France (Paris and surroundings). Will Karos be RCI’s next prey?