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Volkswagen's Moia to come after Uber
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Europe's largest car manufacturer launched its own car-sharing service under a separate brand Moia that VW plans to develop into the business of billions over the next years.

As part of the recovery plan from the notorious diesel scandal, Volkswagen Group (XETRA: Volkswagen [VOW3]) has announced its newest project Moia during today's TechCrunch Disrupt in London. Moia, translated from Sanskrit as "magic", is the company's 13th brand and the first ride-hailing app and project. TechCrunch's experts said that Moia is one of the most aggressive initiatives among the biggest car makers in the world aimed at tackling the problem of urban transportation by going beyond the individual car ownership. And, considering that Volkswagen's main business is all about selling vehicles for individual use, Moia is definitely something the auto maker hasn't done before.

"MOIA is a stand-alone company under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, and will develop and market its own mobility services either independently or in partnership with cities and existing transport systems. In parallel, the Group brands will continue to move forward with their own services. Our sights are set on becoming one of the global top players for mobility services in the medium term. To achieve that we will be seeking to attract the best minds and technology start-ups", said Ole Harms, CEO of Moia, in the official statement.

Moia will offer on-demand shuttle services similar to those of Uber, explained the company. The app's users will be able to book a ride on a shuttle from one of the designated pickup locations, where users could join the shuttles shared with other users. Not surprisingly, in the future, shuttles will be electric and self-driving. By creating Moia, Volkswagen plans to "democratize" transportation in big cities and launch a service that comes in between public transport and individual ownership, said Harms. Democratizing transportation, in this context, means making it available to as many people as possible without an option of premium service like Uber Black, he added.

This new brand emerged from Volkswagen's foray into EV manufacturing and developing self-driving cars and mobility apps in the wake of the year-old emissions cheating scandal, says Bloomberg. Last month, the company announced its plan to lay off over 10,000 employees within the big restructuring initiative to free up funds for building electric cars and developing several futuristic projects. And Moia is one of these projects, which received "three-digit million-euro" funds from Volkswagen.

Volkswagen's switch to electric cars means major layoffs for the employees

According to the company, the service will start working first in Berlin and Hamburg, where it is expected to go live by the end of next year. After the first market experience, the management will consider expanding to other European cities or China. Thanks to a "startup" mentality and Volkswagen's generous funding, Moia has great conditions for a kick start, Harms said at the conference. As a result, Moia is predicted to attract an audience of about 80 million by 2025.

"Even though not everyone will still own a car in future, MOIA can help make everyone a customer of our company in some way or another", said Matthias Müller, CEO of the Volkswagen Group.

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