Volvo has launched a new M brand (no, not to rival that M) that focuses on mobility, which will provide dependable, on-demand access to its range of cars and services through a smartphone app. This announcement furthers the company’s efforts to offer subscription-based car ownership as opposed to conventional means.

Said to expand the Swedish automaker’s global mobility operations, Volvo M (a wholly-owned and stand-alone entity) will learn about each of its user’s needs, preferences and habits, and uses these data to form a personalised relationship with the customer. The new brand is also developing a proprietary learning technology that asks users about their specific needs, instead of merely informing them where they can pick up a car.

Volvo Cars president and CEO, Håkan Samuelsson said “private car ownership will not disappear, but as a carmaker, we need to embrace the fact that it will reduce and, more importantly, change.” He also said urban consumers are rethinking traditional car ownership, and that M is part of the answer. “We are evolving to become a direct-to-consumer services provider under our new mission ‘Freedom to Move’,” he added.

The new M brand is backed by 20 years of learnings and data from Sunfleet, its car-sharing partner and leading car-sharing company in Sweden with a fleet of 1,700 vehicles (most, if not all are Volvo). Sunfleet, which makes 500,000 annual transactions, will be fully integrated into Volvo M by 2019, which means the Volvo M service will be available to all existing Sunfleet members.

“We have a proven and profitable concept in our home market that we intend to leverage as we develop a global concept. Mobility is undergoing a fundamental transformation and Volvo Cars is leading that change.”

“The launch of M creates new sources of revenue for Volvo Cars and will be integral to the company’s ambition to build more than five million direct consumer relationships by the middle of the next decade,” said Samuelsson.

Volvo M CEO, Bodil Eriksson said “the services [that are] currently available mainly offer alternatives to a taxi or public transit. We’re focused on the way people use the cars they own, which sets us apart. We aim to provide a real alternative to that experience. It should enable us to live life on our terms, getting things done and maximising precious time. We see the opportunity to offer a premium experience.”

The mobility brand is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, where extensive testing of the programme is already underway. A broader Beta test will take place in the coming months before being officially launched in Sweden and the US in March 2019. Further information about Volvo M and its services will be revealed soon.