The financial services arm of car giant Volkswagen has announced that it will begin supporting both the leasing and financing of bicycles and electric bikes.
The automotive giant has long had eyes for the wider mobility market and is part of the PON group for which there is a cycling arm – PON Bike – whose brand catalogue consists of the Gazelle, Focus, Cervelo, Kalkhoff, Santa Cruz and Juliana brands, among others. PON is one of the Netherland’s largest companies with an annual turnover north of 47.5 billion.
“We have seen ourselves as a full-service provider for mobility for many years. Thanks to the rapid development of e-bikes, we can reach many customers through financing and leasing offers that promote sales. There are clear parallels here with the automotive industry,” says Lars Henner Santelmann, CEO of Volkswagen Financial Services AG.
Initially the programmes begin in Germany with a network of around 3,000 bicycle dealers linked through Bike Mobility Services GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of PON Bike. This will enable consumer to select their desired bike at partner stores and then opt to take out financing or leasing options.
The business model is being expanded through Volkswagen Financial Services AG’s investments in Digital Mobility Leasing GmbH (26 percent) and Volkswagen Bank GmbH’s investment in the Austrian fintech Credi2 GmbH (20 percent).
The company bike leasing plan will see employees able to take on a bike with a conversion of gross salary giving pricing benefits to the tune of 35% compared to outright purchasing with installments made on a monthly basis.
With this option comes additional perks such as damage and theft protection, as well as a maintenance package.
Bicycles spanning €500 through to a weighty €15,000 will be covered, meaning that the bike must not always be used for a commute and that leisure and sports use is welcomed.
In addition to leasing, private customers are offered a new, digital financing solution via the FINANCE A BIKE brand. With the new financing product, customers can select their desired bike, conclude the financing, and take the bike directly with just one visit to the bike dealer. Using the online application route, the customer can apply for a loan of between 500 euros and 10,000 euros in less than ten minutes .
In addition to bicycles, this amount can also be used for accessories such as bicycle locks, helmets and additional batteries. A term of between 6 and 60 months and possible early repayment offer flexibility for end users.
The new process is said to offer benefits for participating bicycle dealers in terms of ability to hold a customer’s interest in buying, or upsell as is very often possible with finance tools. Using FINANCE A BIKE is free of charge to the bike shop.
Around 600 bicycle dealers in Germany currently offer the new financing model.
Volkswagen’s interest in the bicycle market has fluctuated over time. A decade ago it revealed an electric folding bike concept and followed this in 2019 by debuting an electric cargo bike, signalling its intent to think wider on the commercial vehicles front.