At Daimler, mobility falls under finance

At Daimler, mobility falls under finance

- in Automotive

Daimler’s car2go car-sharing service is housed under Daimler Financial.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report misstated when the shared and services part of Daimler’s mobility business moved to Daimler Financial. It has been corrected.

Many of Daimler AG’s mobility initiatives in the U.S. and internationally fall under its finance arm, Daimler Financial Services. Finance and mobility are often assumed to be separate tracks, but to Daimler’s leaders, they merge.

Daimler has identified four mobility themes: connected, autonomous, shared and services, and electric. The shared and services piece, which includes car2go, moovel, mytaxi and more, falls under Daimler Financial Services.

Traditionally, Daimler Financial has offered finance and lease contracts, which are forms of ownership models. Now it is adding to and transforming its offerings, providing mobility services that change the payment model and the ownership experience, said Jorg Lamparter, head of mobility services for Daimler Financial Services.

Already, he said, “there is an even bigger need [for] flexibility in owning a car. The merge toward renting products — a more flexible approach, a shorter term, midterm leasing solutions — all of that is leading into a mobility as a service solution.”

Daimler now provides flexible mobility options for circumstances ranging from rides that last a few minutes to traditional vehicle finance models that last years, Lamparter said.

“It’s really at the core of our activities to think from a customer’s perspective of his or her needs when it comes to mobility,” he said. “And we want to make sure we address them properly with the products within financial services.”

Lamparter: Need for flexibility

A decade in the making

Daimler launched its mobility efforts in 2008 with car2go, a service that enables customers to get into a car2go vehicle on the street for short-term use and drop it off anywhere on the street in the operating area when they’re done. About four years later, the shared and services part of Daimler’s mobility business was housed under Daimler Financial.

When Daimler started car2go, mobility topics were “not really at the top of the agenda,” Lamparter said. At that time, Daimler started a business innovation unit, now called Lab 1886. The group was charged with devising new business models to prepare for the future.

“That’s how car2go was created, [based on] the idea that ownership might end and what would that mean,” Lamparter said. “People want mobility for sure, but do they want to own a car in an urban area or a city where parking is a hassle, where owning a car isn’t really a pleasant experience?”

After car2go launched, it became clear that sharing would play a key role in the future of vehicle ownership, he said.

At least by 2027, he said, the industry likely will focus on autonomous vehicles and how they should fit into the ownership landscape.

“We will probably have a very diverse picture of what’s happening on our roads,” Lamparter said. “More importantly, we will see a whole new dimension of mobility services and mobility service ecosystems arising from what we have today, really providing mobility as a service to people and to customers.”

Fleet management

Daimler Financial Services also is poising itself for a mobility-driven future with its fleet management business.

“When you look at what we refer to as autonomous and robovehicles, the ability to manage fleet very efficiently is a very critical, key aspect,” Lamparter said.

Daimler manages large fleets in urban environments every day with car2go, he said.

“Managing fleet beyond the normal corporate fleet is a very critical aspect in the robocar environment,” he said. “We believe this is a core area you have to be in when you talk robocar mobility.”

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