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VW exits German car-sharing business

By AFP - Nov 01,2022 - Last updated at Nov 01,2022

The VW logo is on display at the headquarters of German carmaker Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany, on March 26, 2021 (AFP photo)

FRANKFURT — Volkswagen (VW) on Tuesday became the latest German auto giant to get rid of its car-sharing business, after it too struggled to make a profit in the emerging sector.

VW said it was selling its WeShare unit, which offers around 2,000 all-electric cars for hire in Hamburg and Berlin, to German company Miles Mobility.

No financial details were disclosed.

"We made it very clear in 2020 that we didn't think the [service] would be profitable for us," Christian Dahlheim, head of VW group sales, said in a call with reporters.

Rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW agreed last May to sell their Share Now joint venture to US-European carmaker Stellantis, after they experienced lower-than-expected interest in car-sharing services.

As part of the deal with VW, Miles Mobility will order more than 10,000 all-electric vehicles from VW's stable of brands, including Audi and Seat cars.

Miles Mobility already runs a fleet of 9,000 vehicles across eight German cities, including Bonn, Cologne and Munich, and two cities in Belgium.

"With a strong partner to operate the fleet and with vehicles from various Volkswagen group brands, car sharing will become available to an even broader spectrum of customers," Dahlheim said in a statement.

German automotive expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer said VW's decision to sell its WeShare service showed that car-sharing remained a "niche market" that carried "considerable risks of losses".

Miles Mobility for its part said it aimed "to become the leading car-sharing platform in Europe" and welcomed the addition of VW's zero-emission cars to its fleet.

"The electrification of our fleet is a cornerstone of the Miles strategy towards sustainable urban transport," it added.

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