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MSTS Becomes First FinTech Company to be Approved as European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) Provider

Vlad Poptamas



Reading Time: 2 minutes


MSTS,, a global B2B payment and credit solutions provider, today announced that its MSTS Tolls division has been registered as a European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) provider.

As the first FinTech company, and seventh overall provider, to be approved with EETS since its inception in 2012, MSTS will provide customizable hardware and software solutions to support transportation companies across Europe and issue a proprietary EETS toll box.
MSTS Tolls, with more than 30 years of tolling experience, manages toll cards, guarantees payments and contracts with more than 20 European toll operators, allowing fleets to focus on their business – transportation. Using MSTS EETS-compliant toll boxes with backend payment processing, fleet managers can easily manage payments through a user-friendly, proprietary customer portal with mobile functionality. MSTS will also offer its solution as a white-labeled solution to partners.
“We’re bringing a technology-first, customer-centric and innovative approach to transport companies and our partners with our EETS solution,” said Inez Berkhof, VP EMEA, MSTS.
Said Brandon Spear, MSTS president: “A fully implemented EETS will change the entire landscape of how road user charging is managed across Europe. The European Commission has recognized the need for technological innovation in a space largely occupied by government subsidies only providing a local toll payment solution. We innately understand the intricate, complex needs of fleet operations through our 30-plus year history in the transportation industry, and we use technology to solve for pain points related to toll payments.”
EETS is currently in effect in several toll domains: Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Poland A4, Hungary and Spain. In the future, it will span the whole of Europe. MSTS’ 30 years of expertise in toll payments, and its focus on technology, have contributed to the creation of an industry leading solution and state-of-the-art OBU for all EETS-compliant toll domains.



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Vlad Poptamas



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Reading Time: 3 minutes


  • Disclosed VC funding to automotive start-ups hits $8 billion
  • Electrification, connectivity, autonomy and mobility are driving investments and deals in a race for market leadership


London, UK – 20 February 2019. The latest Automotive Technology M&A Market Report from international technology mergers and acquisitions advisor, Hampleton Partners, reveals that disclosed Venture Capital funding to automotive start-ups totalled $8 billion in 2018.

In parallel, almost 100 M&A deals were inked, including Renault, Ford and Volkswagen’s autotech acquisitions in the second half of 2018; however, total disclosed M&A transaction value reached $3.9 billion in the time period, the lowest in over five years.

The report also shows the growing role of Private Equity (PE) in the autotech M&A market, accounting for almost one quarter of all transactions in 2018. The largest PE acquisition was Gores Group’s buyout of Verra Mobility for $1.3 billion, at an attractive 17x EV/EBITDA multiple.

Jo Goodson, managing director, Hampleton Partners, said:

“Although we are currently seeing more venture capital investment than M&A transaction value in autotech, all players in the sector continue to push to be the market leader within the new world of electrification, connectivity, autonomy and mobility. Start-ups with innovative ideas are pursuing funding, and global giants from all sectors, including financial, are continuing to invest, fund and acquire.”


Key trends in autotech

  • Connected car technology is widely hailed as the precursor for autonomous vehicles, providing passengers with features like internet, next-generation infotainment and enhanced safety features.


Examples of deals in this sub-sector included Volkswagen’s purchase of WirelessCar for almost three times its revenue; Aptiv’s acquisition of Chinese advanced interconnect specialist KUM in a landmark $500 million deal; and Zurich Insurance’s acquisition of Bright Box in a move to bring the insurer into the vehicle and closer to the data it generates.

  • Vehicle manufacturers are diversifying from pure passenger car production to protect themselves against an uncertain future where personal vehicle ownership is no longer the norm.


Early in 2018 Daimler led a $175 million equity round in Taxify, Estonia’s response to Uber. BMW took over Parkmobile to become the largest provider of mobile parking in the United States and in November Ford bought Spin, an electric scooter sharing platform, in an effort to expand its micro-mobility offering.

  • Internet commerce and content is growing in importance, with prospective vehicle owners now spending around 60 per cent of their time searching online.1


KAR Auction Services, which signed five deals over the past 30 months, purchased B2B car auction website, CarsOnTheWeb, for just over $100 million. Meanwhile, in November 2018 Renault bought Carizy, a used vehicle marketplace. Renault hopes to capitalise on the fast-growing used vehicle industry between private individuals, opening another lucrative revenue stream for the French automaker.

  • The digital transformation of dealerships: in a two-way street of deal-making, dealerships are incorporating enterprise software and CRM solutions to build better informed relationships with their prospective and current customers and ease the marketing and sale of vehicles, whilst online vehicle marketplaces are getting closer to the dealers.


Two US-listed online vehicle marketplaces made acquisitions in 2018: made a $165 million acquisition of DealerInspire, a provider of automotive advertising SaaS and service. TrueCar’s picked-up DealerScience, a dealership retail software provider, for $27 million.


Automotive technology M&A in 2019

Jo Goodson concluded:

“We believe 2019 and 2020 will remain very strong for both acquisitions and funding in the autotech sector, despite the storm clouds on the horizon which may provoke a reduction in vehicle sales’ volume overall.

“Our rationale is that spending in the sector will not be impacted by short-term market turbulence. Autotech is a truly transformational sector and we’re only at the beginning of a very long journey. In summary, we foresee a strong autotech M&A market over the next 24 months, with stable Enterprise Value multiples and a sharply growing capital raise market with increasing valuations.”

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Autotrader Donates Vehicle in Collaboration with Turner Sports During NBA All-Star

Vlad Poptamas



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Reading Time: 1 minute


Autotrader has teamed up with Turner Sports and the National Basketball Association for the thirteenth consecutive year to alter the lives of a deserving family with the donation of a new vehicle, presented this year to a recipient of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

During the regular NBA season, hosts of the Emmy® Award-winning Inside the NBA studio team – Ernie JohnsonShaquille O’NealKenny Smith and Charles Barkley – faced off in the Autotrader All-Star Drive fantasy basketball challenge. During TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader, hosts selected the player that they thought would be the top performer during that night’s TNT double-header with the winner receiving a donation of a new vehicle to the charity of his choice, courtesy of Autotrader.

This year’s winner, Ernie Johnson, was playing to benefit MDA, a non-profit organization committed to transforming the lives of people affected by muscular dystrophy, ALS and related neuromuscular diseases through innovations in science and care. Through searching for a cure and accelerating therapy discoveries, MDA creates a community, participating in educational conferences, events and materials for families and healthcare providers to aid those affected by neuromuscular diseases.

Johnson presented a deserving family with the gift of a brand-new vehicle. Footage from the giveaway was featured within Saturday evening’s TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader. This year’s NBA All-Star was held in Charlotte, N.C.on February 16.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to donate a new vehicle and give back to the remarkable family,” said Greta Crowley, vice president of marketing for Autotrader. “These meaningful partnerships allow us to give back through charitable organizations, highlighting Autotrader’s commitment to serve our local communities.”

For more information and news from Autotrader, visit, follow us on Twitter at (or @Autotrader_com), Instagram at (or @autotrader_com), like our page on Facebook at, add us on Snapchat (@Autotrader_com), and get updates at Google+ at


SOURCE Autotrader

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The Mercedes-Benz EQC SUV makes its Canadian Premiere at the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS)

Vlad Poptamas



The first fully-electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, the EQC SUV, will make its Canadian Premiere at the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS). The vehicle is the forerunner for the Mercedes-Benz brand for e-mobility, EQ. It will be on display at CIAS from February 15-24 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. (CNW Group/Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.)
Reading Time: 4 minutes


  • Canadian Premiere of the first fully-electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz
  • Launch of the “EQ Ready” app to help consumers understand whether they are suitable candidates for electric mobility
  • Other highlights including the A-Class Sedan and Hatch, the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe, and a new GLE SUV that will really put on a show

TORONTOFeb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ – The first fully-electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, the EQC SUV, will make its Canadian Premiere at the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS). The vehicle is the forerunner for the Mercedes-Benz brand for e-mobility, EQ. It will be on display at CIAS from February 15-24 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, along with other highlights such as Mercedes-Benz’s new entry in the compact class, the A-Class Hatch and Sedan, a sports car that pairs the performance of a racecar with day-to-day practicality, the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe and a unique “dancing” GLE SUV that will really put on a show for visitors throughout opening weekend.

“Our display at CIAS really highlights the breadth of our portfolio and the exciting options we offer across so many market segments. We’re excited to soon add fully-electric options to that mix. Our EQ line – and the Canadian Premiere of the EQC SUV – is a key focus at this year’s show,” says Brian D. Fulton, President & CEO, Mercedes-Benz Canada. “With its impressive combination of quality, safety, comfort, design and technology, the EQC offers everything drivers have come to expect from Mercedes-Benz – now with an electric powertrain. Arriving in Canada in early 2020, it is the forerunner for our EQ line-up, which by 2022 will have expanded to include fully electric options in all key market segments from smart right up to large SUVs.”

As the first fully-electric vehicle by Mercedes-Benz in its EQ line-up, the EQC exemplifies the design idiom of “Progressive Luxury,” which is characterized by contrasting digital and analogue elements. With muscular proportions, an extended roofline, and a coupe-like roof recess at the rear, the EQC is classified as an SUV crossover. It’s powered by an all-new drive system with compact electric drivetrains at each axle, which give the vehicle all-wheel drive. Together, these motors generate an output of approximately 402 hp and a combined maximum torque of 564 lb-ft. The EQC comes equipped with Mercedes me connect, which gives customers convenient access to charging stations operated by numerous providers, thus making electric mobility convenient and suitable for day-to-day driving.

Are you “EQ Ready?”

In conjunction with the Canadian Premiere of the EQC, Mercedes-Benz Canada has released the EQ Ready app, a free app that is available to download for Android or iOS. The easy-to-use app helps Canadian understand if they are ready for electric mobility. Via smartphone, it records the distances covered in a vehicle, analyzing individual mobility behaviours and pairing the data with variables such as temperature and terrain, to show users how their regular driving behaviour would impact the state of charge of electric vehicles from the EQ line-up.

“As we prepare to bring our first fully-electric Mercedes-Benz to the Canadian market, we understand that range anxiety and questions about the charging infrastructure still exist for many Canadians,” says Fulton. “With the EQ Ready app, Canadians can easily see whether day-to-day electric mobility makes sense for them based on their driving patterns and the charging infrastructure along their regular routes.”

To ensure the company is “EQ Ready,” Mercedes-Benz has made substantial investments to prepare for the electrification of its fleet. In January, it announced plans to add a ninth factory to its global battery production network. The global production network includes battery factories on three continents, including North America where a battery plant is under construction in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In December 2018, the company announced it would be buying more than 20 billion euros (30 billion CAD) worth of battery cells by 2030. The worldwide network of battery factories will allow Mercedes-Benz to react flexibly and efficiently to market demands and requirements as the luxury manufacturer electrifies its fleet.

By 2022, the Mercedes-Benz EQ line-up will have expanded to offer Canadians fully electric options in all key market segments from smart right up to large SUVs.

Other highlights from Mercedes-Benz at CIAS:

  • Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX)

MBUX features a powerful computer, high-resolution graphics, fully-customizable displays, Augmented Reality navigation, and software that can learn and respond to natural speech.  It has revolutionized the relationship between car and driver, having been described as a feature that turns the vehicle into “a smartphone on wheels.” The natural voice-control feature can recognize and respond to an ever-expanding list of topics. For example, “Find Italian restaurants with at least four stars that are open for lunch but exclude pizza shops,”, “Hey Mercedes, how did the Toronto Raptors play?”, “How did the Apple share price performed compared to Microsoft?”, “What is the square root of 9?”, “How big is Texas?”, “What is the fat content of avocados?”. Due to the ongoing development of the system and over-the-air updates, the MBUX system will continue to improve and expand its scope to better serve drivers.

  • Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4MATIC SUV

“The GLE is the first in a series of exciting updates to our SUV lineup this year. SUVs will be a key focus for Mercedes-Benz in 2019 as our portfolio evolves to match consumer demand in this segment,” says Fulton. “We are determined to reinforce our leadership in this segment and there is a lot to look forward to as we update our SUV family.”

For model year 2020, the GLE has been updated with a wealth of new innovations and features. The exterior sets a new standard for aerodynamics in the SUV segment, while the interior is more spacious and comfortable than ever before with a longer wheelbase and third row seating now available.

A “dancing” GLE is sure to be a highlight of the 2019 CIAS. The vehicle will perform two shows a day – at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. – throughout opening weekend, grooving to the music thanks to a new optional feature called E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL. This is a fully networked hydropneumatic, active suspension that works by combining the 48-volt technology of the GLE 450 with the newly developed optional air suspension, which allows the spring and damping forces to be individually controlled at each wheel. This has the effect of not only counteracting body roll, but also pitching and squat.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC+ 4 Door Coupe

The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC+ 4 Door Coupe will be a major attraction among the vehicles featured on the AMG Runway at the 2019 CIAS Mercedes-Benz display.

It is the most powerful vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, offering extra space and versatility without sacrificing heart-pounding performance. It features a handcrafted AMG V8 engine that delivers 630 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, racing from 0-100 km/hr in 3.2 seconds. That exhilarating performance is paired with everyday comfort, four doors, and two rows of seating, along with a wealth of exclusive interior features such as intuitive touch controls and a widescreen cockpit.

SOURCE Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.

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