RCI Banque, Renault’s financial services arm, has acquired a controlling interest in ride-hailing company iCabbi, expanding the French group’s presence in the mobility space.
Under terms agreed in June, RCI now holds 75% of the Dublin-based company, which operates in the British Isles as well as North America.
“The acquisition of a majority interest in iCabbi is part of [RCI’s] goal of becoming a service provider for mobility professionals,” said Bruno Kintzinger, RCI chief executive, calling iCabbi a “technological building block”.
According to RCI, around 3.5m rides are booked every week using iCabbi. Next to a ride-hailing platform, the Dublin-based company also provides reporting software for taxi and private hire operators.
The deal marks a step-up in mobility for Renault, which had kept a somewhat lower profile compared to rivals in pushing its brand beyond traditional car retail.
The group has acquired a number of taxi hire and fleet management platforms over the past year, including Yuso, Marcel and Karhoo. The deals mirror similar moves by rival groups, such as Toyota’s recent backing of south Asian e-hailer Grab.
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In 2016, a Renault-branded car club launched in France, and subsequently gained a publicity boost through a collaboration with Ikea. Renault has been supplying the service with its latest electric vehicle (EV) models, creating an advertising platform of sorts for the range.
The carmaker also plans to integrate autonomous vehicles in its ride-sharing fleet in the future, and is currently testing the concept in Rouen, Normandy, home to the company’s mobility lab. The group can also count on the Renault-Nissan Alliance collaboration with Didi Chuxing in China.
The mobility space is looking at a major shake-up as Daimler and BMW, who already hold extensive presence in the market through the likes of DriveNow, MyTaxi and Car2Go, are set to merge their mobility operations in the near future.