BMW and Daimler team up on ride hailing and sharing

Arch rivals will each own 50% of alliance which centres on services such as DriveNow and car2go

The alliance illustrates how even powerful carmakers are looking to share the burden on the future of mobility. Photograph: Reuters

The alliance illustrates how even powerful carmakers are looking to share the burden on the future of mobility. Photograph: Reuters

 

BMW and Daimler, arch rivals in global luxury car sales, are joining forces to gain scale in technology and services including digital ride hailing and electric vehicle charging, underscoring the transformation hitting the industry.

Pending approval from regulators, the two groups - each more than a century old - will partner in five different areas to flesh out new concepts for future mobility, they said on Wednesday following more than a year of speculation.

Central to the alliance are car-sharing services including DriveNow and car2go, ride-hailing, on demand mobility, parking, and electric car charging. Each company will own 50 per cent of the new alliance, but they will remain rivals in their respective core businesses.

The alliance highlights how even the most successful carmakers consider the future world of mobility too complex and challenging to tackle on their own, given the rise of start-ups such as Uber and Lyft, and the influence of tech giants such as Google.

The agreement follows other partnerships in recent year including last year’s joint-venture between BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Ford to create Ionity, a charging network in Europe, and the joint purchase of mapping service HERE in 2015 by Audi, Daimler and BMW.

Scaling up

The companies said the agreement would help them rapidly scale up new services that in many cases have been in competition.

“Combining our mobility services as planned will create a unique digital ecosystem,” said Harald Krueger, BMW chief executive. “This alliance will make it easier for our customers to discover the emission-free mobility of the future.”

Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, added: “We will not leave the task of shaping future urban mobility to others. There will be more people than ever before without a car who still want to be extremely mobile.”

– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018