Sime Darby is making big moves in the burgeoning mobility sector, announcing that it has created a special task force under its automotive division Sime Darby Motors. The company’s new arm will explore “new trends and opportunities for growth” in the automotive sector, particularly in terms of electrification and shared mobility, the group said.

The move is aimed at future-proofing its automotive business as the industry evolves. “We have developed a mobility strategy as part of our efforts to revolutionise and transform our Motors division to be ready for the future of automotive. Our thrust into mobility is our Engine Two to Sime Darby Motors’ Engine One, which we are continuing to fortify to its full potential,” said group chief executive officer Datuk Jeffri Salim Davidson.

Sime Darby wants to become the strategic partner of choice for new mobility players by offering a turnkey, one-stop, electric vehicle-based mobility solution with a wide range of fleet management services. These include the supply of vehicles with various ownership schemes and maintenance programmes (including mobile car servicing) and telematic services for fleet monitoring and predictive maintenance.

The company also wants to become the leading electric vehicle specialist in the region by capitalising on its strengths, assembling, distributing and selling EVs and playing an active role in developing the country’s charging infrastructure.

Sime Darby has already invested heavily in mobility companies – it has recently poured RM42 million into car sharing service Socar and Singaporean online used car platform Carro, the latter having a presence in Malaysia via MyTukar. The company participated in Carro’s Series C extension funding round less than two months after investing in Socar’s expansion plans.

The partnership with Socar, which involves new and used car sales, fleet management and mobile aftersales, has been going on since 2018. Sime Darby also started working with Carro last year on a used car ecosystem and vehicle leasing in Malaysia and Singapore.

The company says Carro’s online used car platform and technologies complement Sime Darby Motors’ plans to grow its used car business and leverage technology as a tool for greater customer satisfaction. Meanwhile, Socar is already tapping into the fledgling EV market with plans to set up zones for electric car sharing next to public chargers starting next year, in a collaboration with Tenaga Nasional.

“These investments are critical in growing our business beyond the traditional dealerships and in embracing alternative ownership models, as well as to capitalise on the strong growth potential in the car sharing industry in the region. Our investments in these start-ups are strategic and symbiotic, and they come after we have spent the last year or two in collaboration on several fronts to see how we can leverage on each other’s strengths,” said Jeffri.

Group chief strategy officer Datuk Thomas Leong added: “As one of the leading automotive players in the Asia Pacific region, we are taking on a more active and dynamic role in the transformation of the mobility industry. We remain on the lookout for more exciting investments and collaborative opportunities with other strategic partners to help us “see ahead” into the future.”

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