Fiat aims to win car-sharing customers in Italy image

Fiat will launch the Enjoy car-sharing service this week in Milan that gives users access to the automaker’s 500 four-seat minicar.

The moves is designed to undermine the competing Daimler offering, as the 500 can be had at a lower price than the two-seat Smart ForTwo’s offered in the city as part of Daimler’s Car2Go program.

Fiat, which is partnering with Italian oil and gas giant Eni, joins Ford, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Daimler, BMW and Toyota in setting up European car-sharing businesses to take advantage of a sector that analyst Frost & Sullivan forecasts will grow to 26 million global users by 2020 from 2.3 million now. Europe is expected to have 15 million car-sharing customers by 2020, up from 1 million today, the consultancy predicts.

Fiat-Chrysler’s Europe boss, Alfredo Altavilla, said during the press conference that the Italian carmaker sees the new venture as “the quickest way to get customers into our cars.” Fiat will offer Enjoy users special discounts to buy a new Fiat vehicle, Altavilla added.

The automaker expects the business will turn its first profit this year. Daimler says Car2Go is profitable in the three major cities used to launch the program in 2009 — Hamburg, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and Vancouver, Canada — adding that it takes three to four years for a city scheme to make money.

Customers of Enjoy will pay no subscription fee and a rate of 25-euro cents per minute for one of the Fiat 500s. That is 16 percent less than the 29-euro cents per minute for one of the ForTwos offered by Car2Go, which also charges a 19-euro sign-up fee.

Enjoy’s initial fleet of 300 gasoline- and diesel-powered Fiat 500s in Italy’s business capital will rise to 650 in January, with a rollout planned later for Rome, Turin and possibly other European cities.

Via Automotive News Europe