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VW's latest acquisition helps you pay for parking by phone

It should help Volkswagen expand beyond pure car manufacturing.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 27, 2016
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Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Volkswagen wants to turn itself into more of a mobility company than a pure automaker, and it just made an acquisition that should help make that a reality. It's snapping up PayByPhone, a Canadian company that lets you pay for parking through smartphone apps, calls and text messages. The terms of the deal are hush-hush, but PayByPhone handles about $300 million in transactions per year across major cities that include Boston, London, Paris, San Francisco and Seattle.

It's not clear what VW's exact intentions are. However, this would give it an easy way to help people buy considerably more than just some time at a parking spot -- it could help you buy all kinds of products and services, whether you're shopping with your phone or a connected car. VW could profit from parking requests, but it could also strike lucrative deals with companies eager to pitch their wares. While this might lead to some obnoxious sales attempts, it could also remove some of the stresses of driving... especially when you're hunting for an elusive downtown parking space.

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