While slowing car sales, an unpredictable tariff war, and a growing affordability issue could all make for a tough 2019, there are a number of auto initiatives that are looking to take off next year. Among them:
The used-car leasing app company has its sight set on global expansion in 2019 – and it’s one step closer after it ended the fourth quarter with a $385 million funding investment led by SoftBank. In January, Fair acquired Uber’s Xchange Leasing portfolio. Since then, it has been financing vehicles for Uber drivers and it plans to utilize the ridesharing platform to bolster its international presence, with plans to supply cars for Uber drivers around the world, according to a company spokeswoman.
The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative is a consortium of captives, lenders, dealers, and manufacturers dedicated to exploring the use of blockchain digital-ledger technology for mobility services. MOBI Chief Executive Chris Ballinger said that blockchain can help finance companies fund more contracts and take advantage of easier title transfers. BMW, Ford, General Motors and Groupe Renault are part of the consortium.
The two German luxury automakers are merging their Car2Go and DriveNow ride-sharing offerings. The joint venture has the potential to disrupt current ride-sharing landscape in 2019.
New- and used-car dealership chain AutoNation this month was the lead investor in Vroom’s $146 million series G funding and Vroom CEO Paul Hennessy told Auto Finance News that increased collaboration between the AutoNation and the online car retailer is “the next logical phase to [AutoNation’s] business evolution.” Vroom said it going to use the funding for its technology and marketing efforts.