CarMobility in exclusive deal to offer SafeDrivePod in Germany
CarMobility, the fleet management subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, will be the exclusive distributor for Germany of vehicle safety tool SafeDrivePod. Here, and for the first time, Matteo Carlesso (CEO and Managing Director of CarMobility, pictured bottom left) and Paul Hendriks (Sales and Marketing Officer and co-owner of SafeDrivePod, pictured top right) talk about their remarkable cooperation.
Paul, can you briefly explain SafeDrivePod?
PH: “It's a total solution against smartphone distraction. That's a big problem: every day, 16 people die in European traffic because they're on their smartphones. SafeDrivePod locks the screen of your smartphone when you're driving and unlocks it again 20 seconds after you've stopped. So you can't text or actively select a call on your smartphone screen while driving. Hands-free calling is still allowed. The SafeDrivePod is available for bike, car, truck and bus”.
Let's talk about the deal between SafeDrivePod and CarMobility. What's in it for both parties?
PH: “SafeDrivePod is a company that’s always looking for cooperations with big companies that have a strong influence in their local market, and really want to solve the problem of smartphone distraction. And that's what we found in CarMobility”.
MC: “Indeed, we at CarMobility think safety is a very important topic in fleet management. We want to offer our fleet customers in Germany the tools to combat driver distraction, and we found a great product for that with SafeDrivePod. The added advantage: fighting this problem will have a positive impact on TCO, by reducing accident costs, employee absenteeism, additional operative costs and probably in the future the insurance premium due to better driving behaviour”.
How exactly will you market SafeDrivePod?
MC: “First, we'll pro-actively propose it to our fleet customers in Germany. Then, we'll consider integrating it in the full service leasing contracts. That's probably for next year”.
PH: “We've also talked about working with other companies that are not necessarily connected with CarMobility, VWFS or the Volkswagen Group. Because both parties want to make a real dent in this problem of smartphone distraction”.
MC: “And later, small commercial and private customers. And other international markets”.
What's the payment model?
MC: “We'll be pricing SafeDrivePod at €2.99 per vehicle per month on the basis of 36 months’ duration. This includes hardware, software and web portal, and customer support. Very transparent, simple and plannable”.
So the same price, irrespective of fleet size?
MC: “That's correct. We're doing this because we specifically want to put SafeDrivePod on the German market and we believe that the lives we can save do not depend on the number of vehicles in the car park. Later, we might bundle it up with other safety products in the CarMobility product portfolio, such as for example our SafetyPack. Of course, our loyal customers will be able to benefit from specific, dedicated conditions”.
You mentioned that SafeDrivePod will have a positive effect on TCO. Can you quantify that?
MC: “Say, you have a fleet of 1,000 vehicles and 20% of those have accidents each year. If each accident costs you €2,000 on average, that comes to €400,000 in accident-related cost per year. We believe that the introduction of SafeDrivePod can reduce accidents by almost 20% – that means a cost reduction of about €80.000 per year. For a fleet of 1,000 vehicles, your required investment would be €36,000 yearly, so that's a quick, easy and positive calculation to make. Even if it´s just 10% damage reduction, you still have a positive cost balance. And I'm not even including the cost of employee absenteeism, other operative costs or higher insurance premiums due to accidents”.
Let's talk about those insurance premiums. How does SafeDrivePod impact them?
PH: “Our solution allows insurers to quantify and reward good behaviour, by reducing insurance premiums. The insurance companies are starting to realise this, and that's why they're starting to talk to us now”.
Can you talk about the exclusivity of the contract?
PH: “It's actually more correct to say that CarMobility and SafeDrivePod are cooperating on a specific sales model. Because SafeDrivePod is about improving safety, neither of us wanted to restrict its spread on the German market. So any customer will be able to buy it”.
Paul, you launched SafeDrivePod in 2016. It's now live in the Netherlands, Belgium Italy, the Nordics and the UK. Can you tell us in how many vehicles it's been installed so far?
PH: “At present, about 85,000. That's a figure we're not satisfied with, because we set ourselves the goal of saving 1,000 lives before the end of 2020. That's why we need large corporates to push our product. We're working with insurers, politicians, leasing companies and fleet owners: together, we can really attack the problem of smartphone distraction and reduce the number of casualties due to smartphone use in traffic. But it will take time”.
Matteo, what's your prognosis for users in Germany?
MC: “By year three, we'd like to have SafeDrivePod installed in 50,000 vehicles. That's about as many vehicles we manage now, spread out over 140 customers”.
Does that mean you would like to have SafeDrivePod installed in all your own managed cars?
PH: “Ideally, yes. But the German market is huge. So while CarMobility will manage the product, we'll also look beyond our own customer base for promoting and installing it”.
So, suppose I'm a fleet professional in Germany and I'm interested in SafeDrivePod. What do I have to do?
MC: “We have a dedicated SafeDrivePod page on the CarMobility website (www.car-mobility.com), all the info and contact details you need is just a click away. And if you're visiting the BFP Fuhrparkforum (13-14 June, Nürburgring), that's where we'll be officially launching the SafeDrivePod programme, so talk to us there”.
Final question: how do you combine the use of SafeDrivePod with the requirements of data privacy?
MC: “SafeDrivePod is completely GPS-free. This solution does not track the driver – and that was exactly what we were looking for, because we are very keen on protecting the privacy of our customers in general, and their drivers in particular”.