PSA interested in Paris car-sharing scheme: paper

FILE PHOTO: The Peugeot logo on a Peugeot 508 before a PSA Group news conference on the company's 2017 annual results announcement at their headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, France, March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - PSA PEUP.PA is interested in offering a "free floating" car-sharing scheme in Paris, where drivers could pick up a vehicle and leave it elsewhere in the city, and is in contact with city authorities about it, the carmaker told a French newspaper.

The comments come as Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is due to meet on Monday with representatives from carmakers PSA, Renault RENA.PA, BMW BMWG.DE and Daimler DAIGn.DE as well as start-ups involved in car-sharing to discuss potential alternatives to Autolib, the electric car-sharing scheme run by the Bollore group.

A row has erupted between the city of Paris and the Bollore group, which is asking the city and local authorities to contribute 46 million euros ($54 million) a year to help pay off debt the scheme has run up.

“Paris is the kind of city that interests us ... Free floating can be viable in Paris as there is a strong density of potential clients. We are in contact with the municipality. We could start rapidly,” Brigitte Courtehoux, head of PSA’s new mobility unit, told Les Echos.

PSA already operates free floating car-sharing services in Madrid and Lisbon.

“Free-floating is a flexible scheme. As there are no (specific) car stations, the perimeter can be easily extended depending on demand, even if in the end it must be profitable,” Courtehoux added.

The contract for the Paris Autolib car-sharing scheme, which was launched in 2011, expires in 2023.

In 2015, PSA and the Bollore group signed a strategic cooperation agreement on developing car-sharing solutions using electric vehicles.

($1 = 0.8499 euros)

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Mark Potter