Image: Clutch Technologies

Cox Automotive has established a new business division, Mobility Solutions Group, to focus on products for fleets, consumer mobility and mobility-as-a-service (MaaS). To join its investments in this group is newly-acquired Clutch Technologies, which brings a technology platform to support subscription access to automotive services.

Clutch, formed and developed with support from Cox Enterprises’ Innovation Fund, is working with partners including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, plus around 30 car dealer groups, to offer vehicle subscription access in 26 US states. It offers a white-label solution for dealers and consumers, including operational workflow tools. The platform further incorporates AI-enhanced vehicle management to assign the right vehicle to the right subscriber while keeping vehicle numbers down and containing costs; it collects and analyses data on subscribers’ needs and behaviors to ‘learn’, remember and anticipate demand.

Shift away from ownership

Cox Automotive is to release its 2018 Evolution of Mobility study later this month, reporting on the progress of services offering an alternative to traditional car ownership. It cites research on changing consumer attitudes, quoting 39pc of respondents as saying that access to mobility is necessary but owning a vehicle is not – a 5pc increase since 2015. Of urban consumers, 57pc indicate access to mobility as being more important than vehicle ownership, a 13pc rise since 2015.

The Atlanta-based company already offers the Flexdrive subscription technology and also works with businesses including BMW’s ReachNow and Lyft; it has invested in firms including Ridecell, a ride- and car-sharing technology platform, and Getaround, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform.

The new Mobility Solutions Group will be headed by Joe George as president. He said in a statement: “Cox Automotive has played a large role in introducing vehicle subscriptions to the marketplace. And, we’re already pros at reconditioning, managing vehicles as assets, perfecting the consumer experience and developing elegant software solutions to make complex operations more efficient and profitable. We’re looking forward to helping clients disrupt the traditional car buying and ownership models in ways that are advantageous for their businesses.”

Vince Zappa, president of Clutch Technologies, added: “Cox Automotive’s formation of the Mobility Solutions Group will accelerate our plans to activate subscription access across the entire automotive industry by integrating the Clutch technology platform into Cox Automotive’s core business.”

Representatives from both Clutch Technologies and Cox Automotive spoke about new retail and service business models at the recent automotiveIT International conference in Atlanta.

-Farah Alkhalisi