Here’s another data point about how OEMs are becoming more than providers of cars and trucks: Daimler AG—as in Mercedes-Benz and other automotive brands—launched in July 2012 the “moovel” app and website (moovel.com
), which provides users with the best way to get from where they are to where they are going—even whether it means taking a form of transportation that isn’t a car. The pilot of the program is—not surprisingly—based in Stuttgart.
Explains Wilfried Steffen, head of Business Innovation at Daimler, “With the ‘moovel’ pilot project in Stuttgart we focus entirely on the intelligent linkage of different mobility offerings. We show the best way to get from A to B. And at the same time existing resources can be better utilized.”
The “best way” includes various options, as well as information about time and costs. Daimler is partnered with transportation providers Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG, Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund Stuttgart, VVS, and mitfahrgelegenheit.de
—which is to say that moovel provides train, bus, and ridesharing alternatives, as well as the means to call a cab.
While Daimler makes vehicles ranging from buses to cars that are typically used as taxis (especially in Stuttgart), so its support of moovel makes sense from that point of view, it is undoubtedly the case that there is a recognition that people are looking for alternatives for getting from A to B, so it is better to facilitate it rather than resist.
As Theodore Levitt famously wrote in “Marketing Myopia” in the Harvard Business Review (hbr.org
): “The railroads did not stop growing because the need for passenger and freight transportation declined. That grew. The railroads are in trouble today not because that need was filled by others (cars, trucks, airplanes, and even telephones) but because it was filled by the railroads themselves. They let others take customers away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they defined their industry incorrectly was that they were railroad oriented instead of transportation oriented; they were product oriented instead of customer oriented.”
Auto executives need to keep this in mind.