In this joint interview, Sven Kunath of Volkswagen Financial Services and Pierre Syssau of Icare discuss Staymo. This joint venture was born from a partnership between Icare, the BNP Paribas Cardif subsidiary specialised in warranty and maintenance contracts, and Volkswagen Financial Services. They discuss how this partnership is a natural fit, the win-win advantages for both partners and their future ambitions.
Could you start by telling us a little about yourselves?
Sven Kunath (SK): Certainly. As Senior Vice President at Volkswagen Financial Services, I’m responsible for the fast-growing fleet business of Europe's largest automotive captive.
Pierre Syssau (PS): Hello. I’m Deputy CEO of Icare, which is BNP Paribas Cardif’s centre of expertise in mechanical breakdown warranties and maintenance contracts for cars. I’m also the CEO of Staymo, the joint venture we launched in 2022 in collaboration with our long-standing partner Volkswagen Financial Services.
Why did the partnership come together?
PS: First of all, this joint venture was born in the framework of a more global and longterm partnership, since the two companies have been working together since 2001.
SK: At Volkswagen Financial Services, we have set ourselves ambitious goals for growth in the fleet sector. Maintenance products play a crucial role, as these are the kind of services most frequently requested by our customers. Staymo enables us to steadily expand our network of workshops for multibrand business and to offer our customers better processes and competitiveness.
PS: At Icare, we handle mechanical breakdown warranties and maintenance cover on behalf of our partners, taking care of customer issues. Our business model is about managing any make of car, from any brand. This is an essential asset for Volkswagen Financial Services, as it encompasses multi-brand fleets. We leverage not only the expertise of our operational platform but also data on more than three million vehicles, and this contributes to our service reliability.
RESPONDING TO CLIENT NEEDS
How does Staymo meet its clients’ requirements?
SK: Fleet managers are limiting the number of service providers to reduce complexity, strengthen their purchasing power and cut costs. One-stop-shopping is key. At the same time, cost pressure is increasing. The larger the fleet, the more price-sensitive our clients, the fleet managers, become. Therefore, major clients expect leasing companies to provide competitive offers for all brands. In order to satisfy our clients, we must be able to provide leasing and service offers for vehicles outside the Volkswagen Group.
PS: Clients today seek more diversity. Multibrand expertise regarding pricing and operations of maintenance contracts is part of our DNA at Icare. Within a year, Staymo has built the capacity to offer maintenance solutions for any type of vehicle and brand (electric cars included), across a network of local workshops in any European country.
SK: This capacity allows us to operate our multi-brand business every bit as professionally as we already do for the brands within the Volkswagen Group. The partnership is a crucial strategic step for winning and retaining large fleet clients. This multi-brand expertise is key to win, anchor loyalty and retain large fleet customers. It secures our sales of the Volkswagen Group brands and supports our further growth in the fleet business.
PS: This joint venture also brings exciting prospects for BNP Paribas Cardif, as we are building new and unique European expertise by working hand in hand with a major player like Volkswagen!
ANTICIPATING THE FUTURE
Will this partnership continue to generate innovation?
SK: Yes, absolutely. Mobility is changing, our customer demands are changing, so we must keep developing too. After this successful launch in France, our main focus in the coming years will be to increase our footprint and to roll out Staymo in the large European fleet markets. We are also looking at expanding our product range to new areas such as tire replacement. I’m excited to see how the partnership continues to grow as new opportunities emerge.
PS: I agree 100%, Sven. Staymo is naturally innovative in its approach. I believe it will become a centre of expertise for fleet car servicing and generate lots of valuable data for all models of cars, across all types of networks, in all countries. This data-rich approach will spark many additional use cases to push innovation. For example, we can improve current operations with automated claim approval based on analytics. And we could also provide brand new services such as predictive maintenance by using driving behaviour to estimate the impact on the wear and tear of the vehicle. The future is full of opportunities!
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