Volvo's new brand is devoted to app-based car services

M will prepare for an era beyond conventional car ownership.

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Volvo is launching another spinoff brand, but this time it's not about convincing you to buy a car... in fact, it might wean you off ownership altogether. The Swedish automaker has unveiled M, a badge devoted to "rethinking traditional car ownership" with an "intuitive app." Details of what that involves are unsurprisingly vague. However, M is developing "proprietary learning technology" that gauges your specific needs instead of simply telling you where to pick up a car -- in other words, a smarter form of car sharing.

M is building on the back of Volvo's Swedish car sharing service, Sunfleet. Volvo expects to fold Sunfleet into M in 2019. You won't have to wait that long to see what M is doing, thankfully. It's revealing more details later in the year, and expects a wider beta test of its offering in the fall.

This isn't an unusual development when VW and other brands have been setting up their own mobility-focused companies. And the goal is similar: Volvo knows it may lose buyers as app-based services and self-driving cars take hold, and M could give it a similar stream of cash even if its traditional car business suffers.

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