RACING AHEAD

Spain 2020 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

RACC has looked over the well-being of drivers and their cars for over 100 years, and is ready to connect with members over all modes of transport through exciting new apps.

Josep Mateu
BIOGRAPHY

With a degree in economics and business from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and an MBA from IESE, Josep Mateu was appointed President of the RACC in 2015. He was previously CEO and general manager of the RACC and its group of companies from 1995. He is now a councilor for Agrupació and for Assurances du Crédit Mutuel España (ACM). The RACC is also active in the sectors of insurance, roadside, healthcare and household assistance, mobile telephones, travel, driver education, vehicle sales, and services to motorists, among others, and promotes a new culture of safer, more environmentally-friendly mobility.

What have been major milestones since RACC's founding in 1906?
RACC is an association created as a non-profit entity to provide services to the first car users. Back then, it focused on tourism, giving drivers advice on driving, mechanical assistance, and as a platform for motor sports enthusiasts. As the use of cars has grown, along with the middle class, so has RACC. The great shift was in 1990, when we started giving services not only focusing on the vehicle but also on members. In 1998, we expanded from Catalonia into the rest of Spain. Today, RACC counts some 811,000 members.

How has RACC diversified its portfolio of services?
Since the club was linked to cars, our insurance and road assistance services made a great deal of sense. From then, we also started with travel services, driving schools, home emergencies, and mobile phone technologies. Our core business is our members and amounts to 50% of our business, while around 40% comes from insurance.

How has RACC adapted to new technologies?
In 2015, we started a 2020 strategic plan with a few pillars. The first is a technological and digital transformation, for which we invested around EUR18 million. The second is to go from being a club that offers services to drivers to becoming a mobility services club. We want to be close to people whether they are moving on foot, public transportation, bikes, scooters, motorcycles, or cars. We want to modify all processes of members' relationships with us. We are in contact with over 600,000 families, who can all call us about issues related to their homes, cars, insurance, travel, and so on. Previously, we had a silo system, meaning each area of the company had custom-made software, but now we have moved to a cloud-based standard system for the entire company. We receive around 10,000 calls daily that go to a single database.

What objectives have you developed in cooperation with Consorci de la Zona Franca?
In 2017, we created a new business lab that comes up with ideas related to the digital world. As a result, we have developed a few projects with a quick time-to-market. We create, develop, and launch, and if it does not work, we move on. RACC Hop is a B2B app allowing people who work together or close to each other to carpool. It is similar to BlaBla Car, but for daily life. In particular, Barcelona's Zona Franca has around 4,000 employees and is not well-connected by public transportation. RACC Hop helps to reduce costs, optimize employees' time, and encourage socialization. RACC Hop is now in pilot mode, but we also launched the City Trips app, which already has 60,000 users and is operating in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Santiago de Chile. In this app, one can access all the city's shared mobility systems including bikes, motorcycles, car sharing, and public transportation. The app tells users which mode of transport is the most cost- and time-effective. City Trips is open to the public. We have found investment partners, who are either providing the services in the app or are third parties interested in being stockholders. We are now looking for investment from public transportation companies. So far, we received an investment from the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which includes around 200 auto clubs globally

One of RACC's priorities is to promote responsible practices on the road and reduce accidents. How do you achieve this?
We want mobility to be safer, cleaner, more connected, and more accessible. We lobby to influence drivers' education. We supported the initiative of drivers' licenses with points and worked with manufacturers on collision tests. In that regard, we do a safety ranking of cars every year. We carry out rigorous public studies on the roads, so we can influence government on how to improve roads and reduce accidents. Thus, we work with the drivers, cars, and the government.