ExxonMobil Bets on Mobile Car Care

ExxonMobil invested in a startup company offering on-demand fuel delivery and mobile vehicle car care service - including oil changes - to help carve out a new sales channel for its products.

The oil giant announced on Feb. 7 that it bought an undisclosed stake in Yoshi Inc., a Silicon Valley startup. As a leading strategic investor, ExxonMobil gains a voting seat on Yoshis board of directors and will provide Yoshi with fuels and lubricant products. ExxonMobil said the investment will allow it to shape a new channel in the market for its products.

Photo courtesy of Yoshi Inc.

ExxonMobil invested into Yoshi Inc., a Silicon Valley startup offering on-demand fuel delivery and mobile one-stop-shop vehicle care service, including engine oil changes. Yoshi plans to expand the subscription-based service to 25 major U.S. cities with support from investors.

The on-demand economy is changing nearly every aspect of our everyday lives, including consumer expectations about the way fuels and lubricants are purchased, delivered and used, Adam Wariner, ExxonMobils fuels and lubricants innovation manager, said in a news release. We believe the simplicity and convenience of this direct-to-vehicle car care service will attract new customers to Exxon and Mobil branded products.

ExxonMobil will provide Yoshi with fuels and lubricant products, and Yoshi will continue to manage the delivery service. On the lubricants side, customers will receive Mobil 1 and Mobil Super products, depending on the vehicles specification or driver preference.

ExxonMobil noted it spends about a billion dollars a year researching and developing new technologies, including new ways to serve customers. It also partners with other companies on pilot projects around the world. Those pilots inform our decisions on product offerings, marketing campaigns and future development, an ExxonMobil representative told Lube Report. Through data and analytics we evaluate new technologies that help improve the car ownership experience.

San Francisco-based Yoshi provides a mobile vehicle care service, bringing fuel-ups, oil changes and car washes directly to consumers. Customers can schedule services via smartphones or computers. The subscription-based service is currently available in Atlanta; Nashville; Austin, Texas; Chicago; Los Angeles; Silicon Valley; and the San Francisco Bay area. Yoshi plans to expand to 25 major U.S. cities with support from investors.

We believe Yoshi has a big opportunity to be part of the transformation underway in the automotive industry relating to how vehicles get fueled and serviced, which can more than double a vehicles cost over its lifetime, said Yoshi CEO Nick Alexander.

Larry Solomon, president of consulting firm Strategic Resources Inc., said the Yoshi concept could be a very good new channel for delivery of light automotive maintenance, fueling, cleaning, and oil change services. However, to be successful, they will need to know and clearly define the lifestyle segments they are targeting with this service. Then, clearly communicate to those target segments how this service will benefit them.

Solomon suggested such a service could succeed as a business-to-consumer or business-to-business offering.

On the B2C side, I would say thats busy professionals - be they younger, middle aged or older - who do not want to take the time out of their busy schedule to even take their vehicle to a professional retail location to have these services done, he said. Other B2C groups could be stay-at-home parents and the elderly, who would find it easier for the service to come to them instead of going to the service facility, he added.

Solomon believes business-to-business could be a bigger market for such mobile services. Fleets of cars and light trucks could really benefit to have this type of service come to their vehicles, he said. Some fleet companies take their vehicles to a service center of some sort - be it an internal garage or out to places like car dealerships, quick lubes, and external garages. Any of these practices require employee personnel to have their fleet vehicles serviced. This new Yoshi service does not require fleet employee personnel to service their vehicle.