Posted on Nov 4, 2020 at 5:22 p.m.Updated Nov 4, 2020, 7:53 PM
Re-containment is hardly the best time to launch new mobility services, but these adverse circumstances have not deterred Fiat Chrysler (FCA). Leasys, a subsidiary of FCA Bank, the financial captive of the Italian-American automobile group, inaugurated its first French “Mobility Store” on Wednesday in Lyon, an agency where customers will find car rental offers of any duration, rental formulas. subscription, and even car sharing between individuals.
Launched last year in Italy, these “stores” constitute FCA’s response to the problem that has plagued the sector for years: adapting as well as possible to the growing propensity of customers to favor use on property, c that is, renting a car for a few hours or a few weeks rather than buying one.
“A welcoming place for the customer”
Most competitors, such as the BMW-Daimler or PSA duo with Free2Move, have positioned themselves by aggregating a series of services in a mobile application, sometimes including access to a VTC or self-service scooters. Leasys limits its offers to the driverless car, but with very varied formulas, and above all a singularity: investment in physical stores, even if digital tools will remain privileged.
“The customer has to go somewhere to pick up his car, as much as it is in a welcoming place,” explains Denis Vitellaro, Managing Director of Leasys Rent France. It is also the opportunity for our staff to offer other services ”. Having a storefront should also build brand awareness.
An offer dedicated to buyers of electric Fiat 500s
In each branch, customers will have access to long-term rental offers (Leasys’ original business), but they can also book a car for a few hours or a few weeks. The company also has in its boxes a very flexible subscription offer called CarCloud, as well as another called “My Dream Garage”, intended to lift the brakes on the purchase of the electric Fiat 500: buyers (or long-term rental companies). duration) of the new model will be able to establish a list of 7 FCA group cars, and use them up to 60 days per year, in return for a rent ranging from 99 to 299 euros per month depending on the model.
As Citroën has been able to test, the Italian-American manufacturer offers a free car-sharing service between individuals reserved for customers who have purchased a car from the group with full insurance coverage. The latter thus have the opportunity to generate an income by renting their vehicle when they are not using it.
50 agencies in France by the end of the year
Leasys, which already claims 400 points of contact in Italy, has very ambitious development objectives. The company wants to open 50 in France by the end of the year, especially in Paris, Nantes and Montpellier, with locations in the city center or near train stations.
The target is to achieve by the end of 2022 a network of 1,500 agencies in Europe, managing a total fleet of 450,000 vehicles, including 40,000 in France. Half of these vehicles should be electric or plug-in hybrid, which will give the company a different positioning from other lessors, while ensuring a significant outlet for FCA production in this segment.
Deal with the collapse of business customers
To succeed, this innovative approach will have to navigate between several pitfalls. In the short and medium term, Leasys will have to deal with the disintegration of business customers due to the health crisis. The company will also have to assume higher structural costs with its “stores”, even if Denis Vitellaro believes that the agencies will generate their own flow of activity.
Finally, when the merger with PSA has been effective, there will be the question of articulation with the similar activities of the French group. Carlos Tavares also wants to develop mobility services, and has therefore transformed Free2Move into an independent subsidiary this summer. But to develop short-term rental, the future boss of Stellantis has so far favored a low cost approach, with the creation of dedicated corners in the group’s concessions.