Kia Motors Plans to Expand Car-Sharing Service in Europe
Kia’s new “ACE” strategy may have dominated the headlines at the Consumer Electronics Show, but that’s not the only major news to come out of the Korean automaker. Alongside the ACE initiative, Kia also announced plans to roll out its “WiBLE car-sharing service in Europe later this year. The service itself isn’t entirely new — it’s already operational in South Korea — but its expansion into some of Europe’s biggest cities is a sign that the service is ready for a more global reach.
The WiBLE car-sharing service is as it’s described. It’s going to be set up in city centers where Kia vehicles will be provided to customers who need to drive a car but may not necessarily own one. In the same breath, the service also helps those who want more convenient cars to take them to-and-from different locations. The soon-to-be-launched WiBLE operation in Europe is expected to follow a similar template to the one it’s already running in its home market. A variety of Kia models will be made available to customers, including the Soul EV and the Niro hybrid crossover. The automaker’s lineup of crossovers and SUVs are also expected to be included in the car-sharing service.
Once operational, the car-sharing service can be accessed via a smartphone app, similar to how other car- and ride-sharing services like Uber, Grab, and Lyft operate. Users will have to pay for individual journeys where they’ll be charged depending on the amount of time they spend using the car. The service also allows users to use the cars on one-way drives. In some ways, Kia’s WiBle service is not entirely different from Volvo’s Sunfleet service, which is already operational in international markets. Other automakers that have launched similar car-share services include General Motors’ Maven, BMW’s ReachNow, and Mercedes-Benz’s Croove.
Kia hasn’t announced which European cities will get first dibs on the WiBLE car-sharing service. An announcement is expected to come sometime this year.