VW adds parking prowess through PayByPhone acquisition

Volkswagen announced that it will acquire mobile parking payments service PayByPhone in a deal that could give drivers easier street parking.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
PayByPhone app

PayByPhone offers parking meter payment through its smartphone app in US and European cities.

Wayne Cunningham/Roadshow

PayByPhone, a service that lets drivers pay for parking meters with their phones, will be acquired by Volkswagen Financial Services, a part of the Volkswagen Group. The acquisition will give Volkswagen parking payment services in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Switzerland and Australia. Volkswagen previously acquired a stake in Sunhill Technologies, which provides parking payment services in Germany.

Volkswagen's interest in parking payment services demonstrates a broader trend among automakers of investing in services connected to mobility.

The acquisition will not immediately affect users of PayByPhone's app or telephone service, nor owners of Volkswagen cars. However, as part of the Volkswagen group, it sets the automaker up for offering advanced parking services in the future. These services would likely include the ability to pay for parking at a meter or in a lot through a car's infotainment system.

Along with payment services, PayByPhone may be able to give Volkswagen parking availability data. As such, a car could show its drivers open curbside or parking lot spaces. Last year, BMW gave its drivers a similar service, called iPark, through its partnership with traffic data aggregator Inrix.

PayByPhone boasts coverage of 30,000 parking spots in San Francisco, 25,000 in Boston, 40,000 in London and 125,000 in Paris. Volkswagen Group includes automotive brands such as Audi, Lamborghini and Volkswagen.