Mobilize, l’arme de Renault pour s’imposer dans le business incertain de la mobilité

Mobilize, l’arme de Renault pour s’imposer dans le business incertain de la mobilité

A new plan for Renault’s mobility subsidiary. The French automotive group is once again trying to structure its service offer with a plan dedicated to Mobilize, its mobility branch created in January 2021 when the Renaulution strategic plan was announced.

“Mobilize reverses the classic equation of the automotive industry by starting from services that meet customer needs to arrive at the product”, explains Renault in a press release published on Tuesday.

Led by Clotilde Delbos, this entity wants to attack the insoluble question of the end of car ownership in favor of uses, an activity which has never found its economic model so far, apart from very traditional long-term rentals. . It is a matter of providing mobility solutions but also services, while relying on the car as the receptacle 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 offer a multimodal experience.

Thus, Renault will design models dedicated to this project. They will be 100% electric and will meet specifications that must allow shared and intensive use. This point is crucial in order to limit maintenance costs, a real stumbling block in past experiences (Autolib for example…). Another model, the Limo, will also be dedicated to a BtoB activity for VTC and taxi platforms.

This is moreover the only originality of Mobilize, this BtoB approach inherited from the technological acquisitions by RCI Bank (Karhoo, Bipi, Glide, the so-called DMS dispatchers like Yuso and Iccabi). It will be a question of proposing a service suite for mobility operators, VTC platform, taxis, online reservations…

The highly profitable RCI Bank becomes Mobilize Financial

However, the other major pillar of the Mobilize strategy remains the so-called leasing activity. This branch thus gradually took over the very lucrative financing subsidiary, RCI Bank, which renamed itself Mobilize Financial Services. The latter is accelerating in financial engineering by expanding its financing offer, in particular through LOAs (leases with option to purchase), but will expand this offer with insurance and financing products.

Finally, Mobilize will provide aggregated services around charging stations by facilitating access to various networks. Last brick, a maintenance and repair offer will be offered… Mobilize will even go so far as to offer to recondition the vehicles.

The new branch of Renault wants to ride on the incredible 80% growth of the operational rental market and aims for one million rental cars in 2030 and 200,000 subscriptions, and thus represent 20% of the group’s turnover. The group also expects an operating margin from 2025.

A fairly classic model

But, the Mobilize project could ultimately draw most of its growth around leasing activities. According to Renault forecasts, this will represent a fleet of one million vehicles in 2030 compared to 350,000 in 2021. Mobility operator activities should also experience very strong growth with 150,000 to 200,000 cars in 2030 compared to 8,000 today. today, but will remain secondary. In addition, the first business model is already well established and generates strong profit margins, while the second is still seeking to optimize the cost structure deemed too high.

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

New attempt

This is not the first time that Renault has tried to structure its mobility offer. In the mid-2010s, the French manufacturer entrusted its financing subsidiary (already) RCI Bank with the task of building an ecosystem of startups around alternative mobility. This then multiplies the acquisitions, including the most spectacular, the VTC Marcel platform which it requires to ride in 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 Bolloré in November of the same year. The head of mobility services at the Alliance level, who had been poached by Carlos Ghosn of the BCG, Hadi Zablit, is also thanked.

However, the arrival of Luca de Meo revives the group’s interest in mobility. The former boss of Seat is convinced that the manufacturer must regain control of this profession. By appointing the head of Mobilize, the group’s number two, Clotilde Delbos, he shows the importance that this branch has in Renault’s growth ambitions. After the resale of the VTC Marcel at the end of 2020, Renault therefore needed to find a strategic roadmap in terms of mobility.