Volvo Launches 'M' Mobility Brand, BMW Likely to Become Perturbed

volvo launches 8216 m mobility brand bmw likely to become perturbed

Having already launched the Care by Volvo subscription program, the Swedish-Chinese automotive brand wants to continue cramming feathers into its cap. It’s now launching a new mobility brand that sounds very similar to car-sharing services offered by numerous automakers and rental firms.

There could be an issue with the naming strategy, however. Volvo wants to call the company M, which is a letter of the alphabet that’s of particular interest for BMW. In case you’ve been in a coma for the last forty years, the German automaker has used the letter M (for Motorsport) to denote its performance division and affixes it to everything in its lineup with sporting pretensions. While it probably can’t claim ownership of all things relating to the mark, it’s definitely not going to be thrilled to see Volvo using it.

Of course, Volvo isn’t planning on using the symbol to identify high-performance models. That’s what Polestar is for, despite also being a separate brand. Instead, M will serve as the group’s global mobility operations, seeking to provide dependable, on-demand access to cars and services through a proprietary app.

It’s something a lot of other automakers and rental firms have already done. ZipCar, which is owned by Avis, has allowed customers to arrange short-term rentals since 2001. While largely impractical in rural areas, it’s been an ideal solution for some urbanites who don’t need daily access to an automobile but may find themselves occasionally wanting one. It’s also a relatively cheap way to gain access to a multitude of vehicle types.

Since then, ZipCar and similar rental-based car sharing services have exploded — forcing automakers to take notice. General Motors now runs its own rental firm, called Maven, while Daimler has Car2Go and BMW has DriveNow. Volvo seems intent on entering the fray as industry leaders continue expanding the auto business in every direction conceivable. Apparently, just being a automotive manufacturer is no longer enough.

“Volvo Cars is becoming more than just a car company. We recognize that urban consumers are rethinking traditional car ownership. M is part of our answer. We are evolving to become a direct-to-consumer services provider under our new mission ‘Freedom to Move’,” Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Sunfleet, the leading car sharing company in Sweden, originally existed as a collaboration between Volvo and Hertz in the late 1990s. The automaker said it and its 50,000 subscribers will be fully integrated into M in 2019. From there, it looks like Volvo hopes to take the M brand in a global direction.

The automaker also mentioned the service would do more than simply reserve a vehicle. Volvo said the app uses exclusive learning technology that asks users about their specific needs, instead of merely showing them where they can pick up a car. However, it’s unclear what services it will offer to set itself apart. Maybe these Volvos can be pre-ordered with snacks and an umbrella, while taking into account your favorite chip flavor and color of parasol.

For now, Stockholm will continue serving as M’s base of development. Volvo says a broader beta test will take place this autumn and lead to further announcements.

[Image: Volvo Cars]

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2 of 18 comments
  • Lon888 Lon888 on Jul 06, 2018

    What's wrong with the letter "V"?

  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Jul 09, 2018

    I was going to say these are about as diametrically opposed uses of the letter M in the automotive realm as I could think of, but with the way BMW has diluted the M brand I'm not so sure. I'm sure that when their autonomous system is ready it will be available in even the most hardcore 6 GT (650e GT sDrive50i ///M-Sport iPerformance)

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.