Will We Continue to Uber and Lyft, or Will We Start to "VW?"

06 June 2016 Dashboard Insights Blog
Author(s): Jeffrey A. Soble

Volkswagen’s $300 million investment in ride-hailing service Gett is not exactly earth shattering news these days for the automotive industry. But what did catch our eye here at the Dashboard was what Volkswagen said,

Ride-hailing will be at the center of our new ‘mobility on-demand’ business, which we are building as the second pillar alongside the classic automobile business.

“Second pillar.” Let that sink in a second. The first pillar, we assume, is the design, manufacture and sale of vehicles of every kind. But that second pillar is a service industry. For now that service includes people driving cars. What happens when we no longer need the drivers because the cars are autonomous?

Of course, Gett drivers will have the opportunity to buy Volkswagens at “attractive terms” – all the better to put more Volkswagens on the road. And, of course, this is not the first relationship of its kind. GM and Lyft already have a partnership going onUber is leasing Toyotas to drivers.

With autonomous vehicles coming, with every OEM partnering with a ride-hailing/sharing company, and in a world where Uber attracts $3.5 billion (with a “B”) investment from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, it might be worth asking whether some day we will not go to the “Toyota” dealer to buy a car, but, instead, to the Uber dealer – presuming we buy a car at all. In just a few years, Uber has obtained a valuation that may exceed GM and many others. Based on all that information, maybe Volkswagen should refer to its new service industry venture as the “First pillar.”

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services