Volkswagen has invested $300m (¬£205m) in taxi on-demand service Gett, a rival to Uber, handing it a stake in¬†some of Britain’s black cab fleet and also indicating the future of the German car brand.
Gett bought up Radio Taxis,¬†adding more than 1,000 traditional¬†cabbies¬†to its fleet of 10,000 drivers in the UK earlier this year and the investment points towards the troubled auto company embarking on efforts similar to rivals of expanding its mark in the wider transport world.
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VW’s¬†backing of the startup¬†service follows an already trodden path by a major car maker after General Motors revealed a $500m investment in fellow Uber¬†rival Lyft at the start of the year.
‚ÄúWe are thrilled to partner with the Volkswagen group, the number one¬†global car manufacturer.¬†With VW‚Äôs investment, Gett will now accelerate its expansion to the rest of Europe, and strengthen its position in NYC, where we already operate,”¬†said Shahar Waiser, founder and chief executive of¬†Gett.
Matthias Mueller, the chairman of the scandal-hit auto company behind Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Bentley,¬†said:¬†‚ÄúAlongside our pioneering role in the automotive business, we aim to become one of the world‚Äôs leading mobility providers by 2025.¬†Within the framework of our future Strategy 2025, the partnership with Gett marks the first milestone for the Volkswagen group on the road to providing integrated mobility solutions that spotlight our customers and their mobility needs.”
VW was discovered to have cheated emissions testing leading to millions of cars being recalled. Mueller took over in the wake of the scandal and is due to announce the a new strategy for the car group in the coming weeks.
The investment indicates the direction in which the firm is heading.¬†According to German media reports, that will include electric cars, more car-related services and becoming more digital in a bid to become more like Apple and Silicon Valley.
The deal values the Israel-founded startup at more than $520m. Gett has sought to differentiate itself from Uber with a greater focus on corporate customers – which make up arounf 30 per cent of the business, said Waiser.
Meanwhile, in¬†London it has expanded its services into on-demand deliveries such as champagne and salads.