Frenemies: BMW and Daimler Team Up on Mobility, Remain Foes in the Showroom

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

As the marketplace evolves and the rise of “mobility” threatens to lock laggard automakers out of new revenue streams, old rivals are coming together to get out ahead of the competition. Take BMW and Daimler, for example. The German companies, normally embroiled in high-end sales combat, have cosied up to each other in recent years.

While they’re not sharing platforms and engines, the two do feel there’s benefits in joining forces on mobility. By mobility, we mean carsharing and all that sexy stuff you can’t get enough of. A pact between the two rivals came last March.

On Friday, the two automakers released the details of their mobility partnership, announcing five joint ventures funded by a combined $1.13 billion investment.

While the two automakers already had their own mobility services (DriveNow for BMW, car2go for Daimler), the new initiative will see those services combined and expanded into a new entity.

The five joint ventures are: REACH NOW for multimodal services, CHARGE NOW for charging, FREE NOW for taxi ride-hailing, PARK NOW for parking and SHARE NOW for car-sharing. The Germans are fans of shouting, it seems. As before, customers will access the services via a mobile app.

In a joint release, the automakers claim the establishment of the joint ventures will lead to the creation of 1,000 jobs, many of them in Germany.

“Our mobility services have developed a strong customer base and we are now taking the next strategic step,” said Daimler Chairman and Mercedes-Benz Cars head Dieter Zetsche in a statement.

“By creating an intelligent network of joint ventures, we will be able to shape current and future urban mobility and draw maximum benefit from the opportunities opened up by digitalization, shared services and the increasing mobility needs of our customers. Further cooperations with other providers, including stakes in startups and established players, are also a possible option.”

BMW Chairman Harald Krüger said the two companies aim to create “a leading global game changer.”

“We have a clear vision: 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 and interconnect with the other modes of transport,” Krüger said.

Between DriveNow and car2go, BMW and Daimler have 60 million customers in Europe and North America. Growth — and sinking the competition — is what both companies desire.

“After an initial phase of investment and growth, the new joint venture group will offer attractive profitability, which will be crucial to its success,” the automakers stated.

[Image: Daimler AG]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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