Troubled carmaker Volkswagen is seeking to put the diesel emissions scandal in its rear-view mirror with the launch of a digital business division, offering motorists the chance to pay for the use of a vehicle when needed rather than fork out for the expense of outright ownership.
Known as MOIA the Uber-style service will see VW join a growing band of car makers seeking to enter the space, initially by offering an on-demand shuttle service.
Ole Harms, head of the new service, said: “Mid- and long-term MOIA will create the kinds of services that will meet the needs of urban citizens.”
As part of a wider business shake-up VW is investing billions in high-tech ventures such as electric cars, autonomous vehicles and taxi services as it seeks to diversify away from the manufacture and sale of vehicles.
Innovation in the sector has been spurred by the potential riches on offer, with estimates suggesting that the market for self-driving cars and their attendant services could be worth as much as $282bn by 2030 and $51bn by 2020.
Before it reaches this destination VW will have to contend with rivals Daimler, GM and BMW, all of which are further advanced in their own car sharing ambitions.