VW Buys Mobile-Payment Provider PayByPhone for Parking Services

  • Move follows establishment of carmaker’s Moia mobility brand
  • Deal adds to purchase of Sunhill Technologies last year

Volkswagen AG bought North American parking-payment operator PayByPhone in the latest move by Europe’s biggest carmaker to expand from manufacturing into mobility services.

The purchase of Vancouver-based PayByPhone, which processed more than $250 million in transactions this year, will turn the German company’s Volkswagen Financial Services unit into the leader in mobile payments for parking, the automaker said Wednesday in a statement. The companies aren’t disclosing the cost of the acquisition.

Volkswagen set up a ride-hailing and car-sharing division named Moia this month, giving it the same status as the company’s vehicle brands such as Audi or Porsche, with the aim of eventually generating billions of euros in revenue from the unit. The move is part of Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller’s response to industrywide technology developments such as mobility services, automated driving and electric powering systems, as Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen emerges from its diesel-emissions cheating scandal.

The financial-services unit, which oversees Volkswagen’s auto-loan and leasing operations, bought a 92 percent stake last year in Sunhill Technologies GmbH, Germany’s market leader for mobile parking payments. The acquisition of PayByPhone, which says it’s adding about 7,000 users daily to a customer base of 12.5 million, adds sites in London, Paris, Boston, San Francisco and Seattle. The unit will run continue to run parking payments while Moia, established less than a month ago, will keep its initial focus on ride hailing and car sharing, a financial services spokesman said.

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