Chauffeur – a profession in transition?

The chauffeur industry faces a number of challenges in the coming years, ranging from increased competition to regulation and technological developments. However, a meeting of the German chauffeur association, VLD, also had reassuring elements: Chauffeur companies in Germany are confident that customers will still appreciate the uniqueness and quality of their services in the future.

Chauffeur pickup

Although smaller than the taxi industry, the chauffeur industry in Germany is still considerable with approximately 10.000 companies and generating around 1 billion Euros revenue per year. These were the numbers presented on Friday, 18th of November 2016, by the German Association of Chauffeurs and Limousine Service Providers (VLD e.V.) at a gathering in Berlin. As a relevant chunk of the economy, the chauffeur industry must address some pressing challenges in the coming years.

Taxis still have the stronger lobby

According to VLD, at the moment, both taxis and chauffeur companies are currently represented by the German association BZP. As VLD stated, the former seems to mostly represent interests of the taxi industry – resulting in significant disadvantages for chauffeurs, such as the lack of dedicated spots to drop off passengers, to just name one example. In addition, the fact that chauffeur vehicles are not officially marked poses a threat to the profession – their cars are often confused with similar looking private cars. These are just a few examples that were given by VLD and confirmed by the present chauffeur companies. The next step is for the association to approach politicians and lobby for the interests of their industry.

Technology – the driver of change

As the mobility landscape evolves, new modes of transportation are constantly being introduced to the market. The group discussed vividly, how to deal with these challenges and how much ride-hailing platforms or autonomous vehicles really can be a replacement for a chauffeur service. As customer preferences evolve with technology, with new tech-savvy generations growing up and expats coming to Germany, other habits of booking and preferences for transportation are gaining ground. However, the attendants remained confident, that there will always be customers who appreciate the added value of such a distinguished and extremely customer-focused service. And that a truly customer-oriented and flexible profession will be most likely to watch and adapt to upcoming changes and challenges.

Written by Julia Gebert, Senior PR Manager DACH and the Middle East at Blacklane