Car-Sharing – A Fleet Alternative?


OP Financial Group is Finland’s largest banking and financial services provider with over 4.3 million consumer and business customers. As part of their new business strategy, the OP Group is currently diversifying from pure financial operations to becoming a multi-category service provider, and the customers vehicle services are one of the focus areas. Having identified the digitalisation and service trends radically changing the customer vehicle use and expectations, OP Group has decided to become an active developer of the future mobility. As a result OP Group launched their first vehicle services offering, OP Kulku (‘kulku’ = travel) in 2016.

Kulku services enable customers to use vehicles without having to worry about the vehicle ownership, day to day tasks, and value reduction of the vehicle. It is offered on two main services levels, Kulku and Kulku Premium. The Kulku basic services include the typical leasing services (car, repair and maintenance) while the Kulku Premium provides comprehensive package covering all vehicle related services, including car, repair and maintenance with automatic invites, comprehensive insurance, pickup for service, tyre change and storage (winter tyres), and even an unlimited number of car washes. The Kulku services are available from 500 euros a month for a Huyndai vehicle to 700-800 euros for BMW and Mercedes models, and 1,350euros a month for a Tesla Model S with Kulku Premium level service package. The Kulku service agreements can be made for periods ranging from 24months to 48months and the customers have even the option to trade-in their old vehicle when starting their contract.

Continuing their mobility service innovation, the OP Group is starting a pilot of a new type of car-sharing mobility service model with the City of Imatra. In the pilot the vehicles acquired by the City are also made available as a shared-cars to the City’s employees, and in later stages to its residents and tourists. The vehicles are primarily intended for work-related driving by the City employees but, when not reserved for the City use, can also be rented out for private use using a mobile booking application.

With the new model the City can increase the utilisation of their vehicles and lower their overall costs for owning their business fleet. The model provides the city employees and residents an economic and environment friendly way to move around, for business and pleasure. From the users’ point of view the new model also operates as conveniently as the other car-sharing services: Use of the cars require only the customers to register, have a mobile application for locating and booking the vehicles, and taking the vehicle into use. The vehicle price includes all the car costs, cars can be freely driven wherever the users want, and are charged based only on the actual use (8euros/hr).

City of Imatra trial is an example of the emerging trend of innovative car use models where the primary user/owner of the vehicle rents the vehicle out to registered users in order to achieve higher utilisation of their assets and hence, a lower cost of ownership or even profits. The new model also suits all types of organisations, from councils and cities to businesses.

The service is also implemented with a new business arrangement, with a large ‘traditional’ financial institution, focused on the digital customer experience, offering and bringing together all the vehicle related services from vehicle to insurance, maintenance, and even car-washes. And, as a vindication of the attractiveness of the model, OP Group is already expanding the trial to other cities.

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