App heading to the U.S. aims to replace car ownership

App heading to the U.S. aims to replace car ownership
Imagine having all the benefits of owning a car without actually owning a car. This is the idea behind an app called Whim, developed by Helsinki based MaaS Global Oy. Currently operating in Helsinki (Finland), Birmingham (U.K.) and Antwerp (Belgium), Whim will provide transportation (via Bloomberg) to those who pay a monthly subscription fee. In Helsinki, a subscription gives members unlimited rides over the public transit system, taxi rides costing less than 10 EUR ($11.03 USD), and cheaper car rentals. An unlimited subscription costs 499 EUR per month, equivalent to $550 USD per month at current exchange rates. Weekend plans and other options are available.

MaaS Global Oy CEO Sampo Hietanen says, "This is what a car tends to represent to people, it’s this promise of freedom to go anytime, anywhere on a whim. We really need to concentrate on delivering that." To do that, the app will launch different tiers of service that will better compare with the private ownership of a car. And Whim is expected to start operations in two U.S. cities, Miami and Chicago, next year.


While it is way too early for automobile manufacturers to be concerned about the Whim app, Mitsubishi Corp. and Toyota Financial Services have both invested in the company. MaaS Global Oy's Hietanen says that Mitsubishi can help it work out deals with other companies to provide Whim subscribers with access to buses, city bikes, ride-sharing and taxis, and rental cars.


Whim's subscription-based model differentiates it from ride-sharing firms like Lyft and Uber which provide service using a pay-as-you-go system. Originally, Whim was launched using the same type of pricing before it started offering the subscription model. Before it starts offering the app in Miami and Chicago, the company is going to have to determine a monthly price level that would make it worthwhile for consumers in those cities to subscribe to the service instead of paying off a car loan.

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6 Comments

1. RoryBreaker

Posts: 238; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

WOW!!!

2. libra89

Posts: 2298; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

This is a very cool idea! It doesn't work for me but it would be nice if this can be a thing.

3. Vogue1985

Posts: 483; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

Oh my Goodness ,now this would make money. Bye bye uber,hyercar and Lyft

4. whatev

Posts: 2337; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

This is more expensive than owning a car

6. gadgetpower

Posts: 283; Member since: Aug 23, 2019

This is cool

7. tokuzumi

Posts: 1930; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Good luck with that. For $550/month, the cars better be luxury cars from the high end makers. If I'm paying that much, and I have to drive a Corolla, I'll punch the owner of that company in the groin.

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