BMW and Daimler €1bn joint venture puts an emphasis on tech-led mobility
Long-time rivals Daimler and BMW have announced a joint venture covering a variety of new-generation mobility services such as driverless vehicles, ride-hailing, and pay-per-use cars.
As the personifications of high-end German automotive manufacturing, the firms are investing €1bn (£880m) in the project which will also help drivers find parking as well as electric charge points.
While both companies have been independently working to develop autonomous car technology, Daimler's Car2Go car-sharing brand will be combined with BMW's DriveNow, ParkNow and ChargeNow businesses. Both manufacturers will hold a 50% stake in the venture which includes:
- Reach Now: a route management and booking service app allowing users to book and pay directly for public transport and various other mobility options
- Charge Now: a comprehensive charging network which makes finding and using public charge points quick and easy
- Park Now: allows users to reserve parking slots and manage their parking times, as well as enable ticketless entry and exit into car parks and cashless payment of parking fees.
- Free Now: one of the largest ride-hailing services in Europe offers a variety of mobility services including taxis, private chauffeurs with rental vehicles, and e-scooters
- Share Now: a car-sharing service based in 31 cities around the world, it allows customers to rent and pay for vehicles by smartphone — anytime, anywhere
“These five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously,” said BMW chief executive Harald Krueger.
Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, added: “By creating an intelligent network of joint ventures, we will be able to shape current and future urban mobility […] and the increasing mobility needs of our customers.”
The announcement comes following news last month that Volkswagen and Ford will enter into a ‘global alliance’ to develop new autonomous technology, mobility services and new electric cars through shared resources.
If anything, these mergers hint at just how much the automotive industry will change over the coming decades. Industry analysts argue that automotive manufacturers will need to develop services based on usage rather than sales in the near future, with carmakers increasingly facing competition from mobility service providers such as Uber, Google and other big technology firms.