SEAT has taken over the Spanish startup Respiro, a pioneering company in renting cars by the hour in the city of Madrid. With this acquisition, which is the first time SEAT has entered the carsharing market, the brand is making progress in becoming a benchmark mobility solutions provider. Amongst benefits for citizens of Madrid will be increased access to vehicles powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
All of this through a proven business model which will also give the company its own solution in this alternative transport segment. In addition, with this move SEAT positions itself as the Volkswagen Group’s mobility services benchmark in southern Europe.
After signing the purchase agreement, SEAT President Luca de Meo pointed out that “Respiro is a project based on a business model with potential for the company and it enables us to continue making progress in our commitment to finding and developing solutions for future mobility that are sustainable and efficient.” At the same time, de Meo added that “this acquisition is the first step in our commitment to purchasing and participating in future projects that we feel are going to set trends in upcoming years.”
Founded in 2010 by Ian Paterson and Inés De Saralegui and with an annual turnover of 1.8 million euros in 2016, the platform operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. The company currently has 15,000 active users and a mixed fleet of 200 cars, including electric, hybrid, CNG, LGP and low emission versions, which will gradually be replaced with SEAT vehicles carrying the ECO label and fuelled with compressed natural gas.