Stellantis' Free2move grows as other short-term rentals close

Stellantis’ Free2move grows as other short-term rentals close

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Free2move CEO Brigitte Courtehoux said the company is attracting young consumers who enjoy the freedom to use a vehicle when needed and drop it off when they’re done. The increasing cost of buying a vehicle, with TrueCar reporting in June that the industry’s average transaction had topped $45,000, could be playing a role, she said.

“The average age of our customers is around 35 years old, which is young when we know that a customer entering into a dealership is more than 55 years old, so you see the gap,” Courtehoux told Automotive News. “So young generations are willing to use the cars, which is super interesting. This is why this is growing.”

Stellantis’ quest to make Free2move appeal to U.S. consumers is coming with lessons about lifestyle differences compared with Europe. For instance, Courtehoux said Americans tend to travel farther, and the acceptance of electrified vehicles is quite different in the two markets, so the vehicle options reflect that.

In Europe, users can choose from conventional gasoline models, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles from the likes of Jeep, Peugeot, Citroen and Opel. The company just dropped off 150 Jeep Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids, models that haven’t reached the U.S. yet.

In the U.S., the menu consists of the standard Renegade and Compass along with vehicles outside the Stellantis umbrella, such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Cruze. The service, which was a PSA Group property before the 2021 merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, started with General Motors products when it entered the U.S.

The subscription service gives users access to mass-market vehicles along with options from Tesla and Mercedes.

“Really since Day One, the vision was the same,” Courtehoux said. “We wanted to simplify customer mobility taking into account the fact that our customers are switching from ownership to usage. More and more customers are not willing to own a car; they are using a car.”

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