PARIS (Reuters) - Free2Move, the car rental and car-sharing business developed by French automaker PSA Group PEUP.PA, now has the capacity to start to court new outside investors, its chief executive Brigitte Courtehoux said.
Created as a brand in 2016, the business became a fully fledged legal entity within the Peugeot owning-group last week. It offers a range of so-called mobility services, which include taxi rides, as well as rentals and car-sharing.
The new status grants it greater autonomy to develop its own apps and opens the way to seek new investors.
“It remains completely open,” Courtehoux said in an interview. “It’s one of the possibilities, but we aren’t there yet.”
“We’re really in stage one (which consists in) profitable growth and pulling it all together.”
Free2Move's car sharing service competes with French start-up Drivy, Share Now, jointly controlled by Daimler DAIGn.DE and BMW BMWG.DE, Renault's Zity RENA.PA and Europcar's Ubeeqo EUCAR.PA, in what has become an increasingly crowded and fast-evolving landscape.
It also competes with taxi app Uber UBER.N and U.S. car-sharing company Zipcar. Free2Move employs 150 tech experts specialised in data, design and e-commerce.
The company’s first-half revenues grew by 23%, Courtehoux said, in spite of the novel coronavirus outbreak that led to the suspension of its car-sharing service in Paris and Madrid.
Courtehoux declined to provide any specific financial figures but Free2Move’s sales remain tiny compared to the ones generated by PSA’s main car brands, Peugeot, Opel and Citroen.
The health crisis compelled it to postpone to 2021 plans to extend its car-sharing network, which also includes Washington DC and Lisbon, to a new unnamed big European city.
FCA FCHA.MI, with which PSA hopes to merge in the first-half of 2021, has its own rental and car mobility entity, Leasys.
“We’re very complementary, we have a very common vision of what we want to do in the world of mobility,” Courtehoux said, without elaborating.
Reporting by Gilles Guillaume in PARIS; Additional reporting by Giulio Piovaccari in MILAN; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Keith Weir
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